Man jailed for 20 years in 'buried alive' case

 

A man who attempted to murder his girlfriend by burying her alive in a cardboard box was jailed for 20 years today.

Marcin Kasprzak, 26, attacked Michelina Lewandowska with a Taser, bound and gagged her and buried her under soil, leaves and an 88lb tree branch in woodland near their home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Miss Lewandowska, 27, escaped from the box after around an hour by using her engagement ring to cut herself free.

Kasprzak, of Penistone Road, was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of attempted murder.

His friend Patryk Borys, 18, of Rashcliffe Hill Road, Huddersfield, who helped in the kidnap, was cleared of attempted murder.

Both men admitted kidnap at a previous hearing. Kasprzak also admitted possessing a prohibited weapon.

Today the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said this was a "planned attempt to kill".

He said: "It was your intention that she should not be found and it was your intention that she would die there.

"The death you intended would have been long and slow. It is mind-numbingly awful to imagine the sort of death you intended her to die."

Judge Collier continued: "I must have regard to the uniquely chilling nature of this case. As I have already observed, being buried alive must be one of the most dreadful ways to die that anyone can imagine."

Borys was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in a young offenders institute for his part in the kidnap.

Judge Collier said that Kasprzak, who is Polish, "became unhappy" with fellow Pole Miss Lewandowska and wanted their three-year-old son, Jakub, who he thought was not being treated properly by his mother.

He said: "The problem you faced was that she would not go willingly and leave your child with you and your mother.

"So it was that you formed a plan to get rid of her."

The judge told the court how Kasprzak used a Taser to stun Miss Lewandowska before he and Borys bound her feet "securely and effectively" with tape and gagged her.

The pair kept her tied up in the house for around six hours before they put her into the cardboard box, taped it up and drove to a "deserted wooded area" where Kasprzak buried her.

Judge Collier described how Kasprzak and Borys then used Miss Lewandowska's bank card to withdraw £500 from a cash machine.

He said: "Fortunately, she escaped. Her raw determination to survive for the sake of your son is undoubtedly what saved her."

Describing the effect on Miss Lewandowska, the judge said: "She is suffering and will continue to suffer significant psychological harm. I am satisfied that these events will unsettle any prospect of stability for her for years to come."

The victim has described how she still has nightmares.

In a statement after the trial, she said: "During my time inside my shallow grave where I was buried alive I feared that my life was at an end and I was going to die.

"I prayed to God to help me to survive so that I could look after my young son. The thought of my son gave me the strength to fight my way out of the box and save myself."

Miss Lewandowska added: "For many years I loved Marcin Kasprzak very much. But after his horrific attack upon me my feelings towards him have turned to hatred.

"I still have nightmares that Marcin will come back to find me and kill me. My only hope is that he can accept that what he did to me was very wrong.

"I really hope that no one will ever experience what I went through on that day in May, at the hands of a man whom I loved and trusted."

Kasprzak and Borys were both told they would serve half of their sentences before being released on licence.

Neither showed any emotion as they were sentenced.

PA

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