A SECURITY guard has told a jury that she helped a killer escape because she feared for herself and her daughter.
Aleksandra Karpiuk, 27, was giving evidence this week at the trial at which she and Pawel Borowiecki are charged with conspiracy to commit burglary at the home and shop of jeweller Peter Avis in Bury St Edmunds in January.
Karpiuk, who works part-time as a security guard at Bury St Edmunds magistrates court and other venues, is also charged with assisting Pyotr Melaniuk, 28, who has pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Avis, to get to Stansted Airport.
Melaniuk fled the country to his native Poland, from where he was extradited after being detained on another matter.
Karpiuk, of Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, and Borowiecki, 31, of Roslyn Road, London, have pleaded not guilty.
The body of Mr Avis, 66, who used a walking frame and was described to the court as ‘frail’, was found by police on January 14 in the bedroom of his ransacked flat above Collis and Son jewellers which he ran in Abbeygate Street.
He had been stabbed 13 times and struck in the face with a glass ashtray. Jewellery and silverware had been stolen.
Karpiuk told the jury at Ipswich Crown Court that she was so frightened by threats made towards her and her daughter by Melaniuk and another man that she felt she had to co-operate.
She said: “I was so scared and threatened by what they said to me I couldn’t tell the police anything.”
Cross examined by prosecutor Peter Gair, Karpiuk admitted that she had previously not hesitated to make 999 calls to police on at least ten occasions to ask for help in emergencies.
Speaking through an interpreter, Borowiecki said he knew nothing about the death of Mr Avis until the next day.
He also denied having been involved in the burglary and claimed to have been visiting a nearby betting shop when he was caught by CCTV cameras on what the prosecution say was a reconnaissance trip in Abbeygate Street.
Giving evidence, Borowiecki said he had been at a nightclub when he overheard a man admitting to the murder of Mr Avis.
Borowiecki said he was unaware of any threats being made towards Karpiuk.
Describing Melaniuk as ‘nasty’, Borowiecki said: “As far as I know he was a nasty, violent man and I was worried he would harm my partner.”
The trial continues.
Melaniuk appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in August and now awaits sentencing.
Mr Avis’ old shop is up for sale.