Northern Ireland news

Man who killed his uncle facing jail

Marek Sinko at an earlier court appearance

A 38-year-old Polish man, Marek Marcin Sinko who admitted killing his uncle in a drunken fight over a bottle of vodka and missing cash has been told he faces a jail term when sentenced next Thursday.

Remanding him into custody, Mr Justice Colton told Sinko he wanted to reflect until then on the submissions made in what was a "very tragic case" before deciding on the just and appropriate sentence to impose.

Sinko had been accused of murdering his 63-year-old uncle, Eigeniusz Sinko on October 22, 2017, at the isolated Co Antrim home they shared at Townhill Road, Rasharkin, but the charge was withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to his manslaughter, by an unlawful act, and not by way of diminished responsibility because of his alcoholism.

Prosecution QC David McDowell told Antrim Crown Court, that Sinko had phoned a work-mate about his uncle, telling him; "I think I've killed him", before alerting police who found Mr Sinko's partly clothed body laying on a pathway at the rear of their cottage.

Mr McDowell told the Antrim court, sitting in Belfast, while Mr Sinko died from injuries to his brain, he was physically found with fractured ribs, vertebra, cuts and bruising to his face, ears, mouth and trunk, while his nephew had injuries only to his knuckles.

The house near Rashakrin where Mr Sinko was found dead

Counsel said Mr Sinko had been subject of a prolonged and severe assault, and while the injuries to his face were consistent to repeated punching, it could not be proven if they were also caused by kicking, although the rib fractures and brusing to both sides of the chest were consistent with kicking or stamping with a shod foot.

The court also heard that the uncle and nephew had a history of physical violence between them, often occurring after both men had been drinking large quantities of alcohol.

During interview Sinko described what had been "a brutal fight" between them, although he initially claimed he'd hit him only once. He also described knocking his uncle to the ground, before challenging him to get up, only for him to be knocked down again.

Mr McDowell said Sinko claimed he left his uncle outside washing his face by a tap, before cleaning up the blood in the kitchen and having a bowl of soup, and then going to bed. When he awoke the next morning to find his uncle dead outside, and hadn't realised the seriousness of his uncle's injuries and that he never meant to kill him.

Defence QC Richard Greene said a remorseful Sinko had always accepted the enormity of what he had done in killing an uncle, something which he bitterly regrets.

Mr Greene said Sinko had been looking after his uncle, but given their mutual problem with alcohol, both uncle and nephew should never have been allowed to live together, resulting as it did in Mr Sinko's death.

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