Arek Jóźwik killing: five teenagers face no further action over possible hate crime death of Polish immigrant

One teenager remains on bail in connection with the possible hate crime in Harlow, Essex

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The Independent Online

Five teenagers arrested after Polish immigrant Arek Jóźwik was killed in a possible hate crime in Harlow, Essex, will face no further action due to a lack of evidence, police have said.

A 15-year-old, however, remains on bail in connection with Mr Jóźwik’s death.

The 40-year-old suffered head injuries after he was allegedly attacked and fell to the ground outside a row of takeaway shops in The Stow, Harlow, on August 27. He died in hospital two days later.

Six teenagers, five aged 15 and one 16-year-old, all from Harlow, were arrested on suspicion of murder between August 28 and 29. Five have now been released without charge due to insufficient evidence.

Detective Inspector Danny Stoten, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "The investigation into Arek Jozwik's death is progressing and I am grateful to the Harlow community for their ongoing support.

"Arek's family has been updated throughout the investigation.

"We have carried out a huge amount of work into the investigation. So far we have taken over 150 witness statements, spoken to over 300 people during house-to-house and general inquiries, and seized over 100 hours of CCTV, which is subject to ongoing viewing.

"In excess of 30 police officers and staff have been involved in the investigation and have committed over 1,200 additional hours."

Mr Jozwick’s death had been linked by some commentators to the outpouring of so-called ‘post-referendum racism’ that followed the June vote.  Visiting Harlow in August Arkady Rzegocki, Poland’s ambassador to the UK, spoke of “much more” racism occurring since the referendum.

The incident also contributed to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker using his annual state of the union address last month to condemn attacks on Polish people in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Some immigrants in Harlow told The Independent they had thought of leaving the town in the wake of Mr Jozwick’s death.

Others, however, insisted that Harlow was not a “racist town” and questioned whether the incident was more closely linked to anti-social behaviour by bored residents. One British-born resident complained of “little scumbags looking for anyone to pick on”.

In September a small team of Polish police officers flew to Harlow to patrol the streets alongside British officers in an effort to reassure the public.