Student’s killer branded a coward after refusing to appear for sentencing

Dennis Akpomedaye (Met Police/PA)
Dennis Akpomedaye (Met Police/PA)

A man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death in an alleyway has been branded a “proper coward” by his victim’s sister for refusing to face court to be jailed.

Dennis Akpomedaye, 30, tried to decapitate former girlfriend Anna Jedrkowiak while stabbing her almost 40 times in Ealing, west London, having stalked her from his home in Newport, South Wales, last May.

Wearing a balaclava and with his hood up, he waited for the 21-year-old, known as Ania, to finish her shift at a Las Iguanas restaurant before following her and a young man.

Akpomedaye was absent on Wednesday as he was jailed at Kingston Crown Court for life with a minimum term of 29 years, having not been present at the trial that ended with his murder conviction.

Anna Jedrkowiak
Anna Jedrkowiak (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Former justice secretary Dominic Raab had committed to preventing people convicted of the most serious crimes from refusing to appear before the families of their victims after a series of cases provoked outrage.

Ms Jedrkowiak’s sister, Katareyna Glowacka, 39, who lives in the UK, said Akpomedaye’s sentence should have been longer as he is a “danger” to society.

Speaking about his non-attendance in court, she added: “It just shows his true character, that he is a proper coward.

“He committed a crime but he is not able to face us, he’s not able to look us in the eyes.

“For me personally, it’s really disrespectful that he killed my sister and he didn’t show any remorse.

“He never gave any statement why he did it, he just killed her and went about his life like nothing ever happened, which is horrible.”

She was tearful in court as a statement describing her “despair, helplessness and complete disbelief” was read out.

She said: “I am also very angry. I have been robbed of the opportunity to have a sister in my life.”

Ms Glowacka, who was pregnant when her sister died, added: “It is heartbreaking that my little baby boy will never meet his auntie.”

She said her “smart, tenacious and ambitious” sister was also “caring, kind and thoughtful”, and was a gifted musician.

Ms Jedrkowiak’s mother Danuta, who lives in Poland, said in a statement read to the court: “He, this murderer, is still alive and will be for many more years, despite the fact he took my daughter’s life.”

She said the “barbaric” way her daughter died meant her heart “broke with grief and despair”.

Jack Maskell, 21, who worked at Las Iguanas, was walking with Ms Jedrkowiak when she was murdered after the pair had become “more than just friends”.

He told the court: “I have been left with indescribable memories that can never been erased.

Katareyna Glowacka and Jack Maskell speak to the media outside Kingston Crown Court
Katareyna Glowacka and Jack Maskell speak to the media outside Kingston Crown Court (Ted Hennessey/PA)

“It was dark and cruel. I will never unsee what he did to her.”

Judge Rajeev Shetty told Ms Jedrkowiak’s family: “You have been present in court for the entire trial and sentence and heard the most painful evidence of Ania’s last moments.

“I cannot imagine the horror and upset you have experienced and I know, as has been said, that Ania’s premature death will leave a hole in your lives that can never be closed.

“What I can say is that you have behaved with dignity. The sentence cannot do much to help you grieve or recover, save that I hope it at least completes a process of justice being done.”

Akpomedaye, who was born in Nigeria, met Ms Jedrkowiak online in January 2021 and they dated for around a year before she ended the relationship.

In the weeks before her murder, Akpomedaye, who could not accept the break-up, began trying to manipulate her by threatening suicide.

Kerim Fuad KC, defending, said: “It is truly tragic and awful that a relationship once so full of hope and love can have come to this.

“The photographs that the jury were shown of the defendant and Ms Jedrkowiak speak of happiness, love and hope for the future.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab had committed to preventing people convicted of the most serious crimes from refusing to appear before the families of victims (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“Her life was to be ended by the defendant’s act borne of rejection and jealousy.”

He told the court that Akpomedaye had been “slowly falling down a dark hole”, living in maggot-infested “squalor” and facing financial difficulty.

In the weeks before the murder he told Ms Jedrkowiak: “We will be together no matter what. I will find you.”

Police say he has never shown any remorse for the murder, refusing to answer officers’ questions or attend court for his trial or sentencing.

A promised law to pressure killers to appear in court for sentencing is at risk of being shelved after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to commit to the legislation earlier this month.

Thomas Cashman was jailed for life with a minimum term of 42 years for fatally shooting nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel at her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, while pursuing a fellow drug dealer.

Sex attacker Jordan McSweeney murdered 35-year-old law graduate Zara Aleena as she walked home in Ilford, east London, and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 38 years.

Koci Selamaj received life with at least 36 years for murdering primary school teacher Sabina Nessa after travelling to London to carry out an attack on a random woman.

They all refused to appear in court for sentencing, with judgments being handed down in their absence.