Pensioner gets life for murdering Jews
None of the jurors was born when Sawoniuk committed the crimes for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He is the second oldest person in British legal history to receive such a sentence.
During the eight-week trial, the court heard how Sawoniuk, from south London, was actively involved in the Nazis' so-called Final Solution. Recruited in his home town of Domachevo, he enthusiastically led "search and kill" operations to track down those who escaped the massacre of 2,900 Jews on 20 September 1942. At least one witness said Sawoniuk was present on the day of the massacre. The judge, Mr Justice Potts, told Sawoniuk: "Although you held a lowly rank in the hierarchy of those involved in the liquidation of Jews in eastern Europe, to the Jews of Domachevo, it must have seemed otherwise."
The jury took three days to reach its verdicts. Sawoniuk was found guilty unanimously on the first count of murder and by a majority on the second count. As the jury returned its verdict Sawoniuk, pale and troubled, slumped backwards in his seat.
The trial, which cost an estimated pounds 1m, was the result of an eight-year investigation into war crimes costing pounds 10m. Sawoniuk is likely to be one of just two people to be charged.
Sawoniuk's solicitor, Martin Lee, said: "We are instructed to consider grounds for appealing against conviction. In my view this case has demonstrated that the War Crimes Act 1991 has established a bad precedent in respect of retrospective criminal legislation. Retroactive criminal legislation is bad practice and I cannot now see how this prosecution has made it good law. Millions have been wasted by the Government on prosecuting a nobody from south London when hundreds of relatives of the survivors of the First and Second World Wars are desperate for recompense."
The Crown Prosecution Service said the result was "a tribute to the courage and resilience of the witnesses".
Nazis' hired killer, page 8
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group
BNP and EDL accused of attempt to fuel racial hatred after Woolwich terror attack
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.