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Murder with Roots in the Past by Zofia Weaver and Krzysztof Janoszka

In the winter of 2006 the fire brigade was called out to a fire in a block of flats at a street in the town of Będzin, in southern Poland. The firemen succeeded in putting out the fire and preventing the whole building from being destroyed. One flat was badly damaged by the fire, the one inhabited by the owner of the block.

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When the firemen and the police examined the damaged flat they made a macabre discovery: in the kitchen there were two charred bodies. The post-mortems showed that in both cases death was caused not by fire but by knife wounds. There was no doubt that the two people were murdered before their bodies were set on fire.

Investigation of the circumstances of this crime was not getting anywhere. Various hypotheses were explored but all came to a dead end. Finally, three investigating officers from Będzin undertook the long journey from Silesia to Człuchów (Jackowski’s home town in Pomerania, in north-western Poland). On arrival they presented the clairvoyant with bags of scorched rags, tied and secured but still with the smell of burning emanating from them. After an initial blankness, with the bags in the room, Jackowski got what he calls a “vision”:

He has an impression of a shop, a tiny shop with paints, owned by a young married couple. There is also a young girl there, employed as a trainee. The shop appears to be in the same block where the killing took place. Jackowski senses that the murderer is the man who manages the shop. He also becomes aware that the man has left his wife and is living with the trainee who worked in the shop. They were having an affair; the wife found out about it and that was the main reason for their splitting up. Another impression he has is that it all happened much earlier than the murder – something like two or three years.

Jackowski then makes a note: the trainee knows that the shop manager killed the owner of the block and the other victim, a tenant. The clairvoyant suggests that the trainee should be the first to be interrogated.

When he reads out his notes to the policemen they do not believe him. None of it makes sense; his stories have nothing to do with the investigation. There is no shop in that block; it’s an old, dilapidated building. After the session, the police officers told Jackowski that there were quite a few homeless people always trying to spend the night in the cellar, and the owner kept calling the police to get rid of them. The police knew quite a lot about the homeless and were pretty certain it was one of them but they were a very closely-knit group so there were no clues (Świątkowska & Jackowski, 2012, vol 1 p. 136).

Disappointed, the policemen depart leaving the clairvoyant feeling guilty about his failure.

A few days later, when he was beginning to get over that unfortunate episode, one of the policemen from Będzin telephoned him and told him that he was right. The police checked out his story and it turned out that three years earlier there had been a little shop with paint in that block, run by a married couple, and they had a girl trainee. The police located the wife of the ex-shop manager, who told them that her husband turned out to be a scoundrel, they were divorced, and her former husband was living in a village with their ex-trainee, who had a child by him. When the police went to that village and started interrogating the girl she admitted almost at once that her partner told her what happened, that he did not intend to kill the old woman. He owed her money and she threatened to take him to court, so he went to her to try to come to some agreement. Instead, they had an argument, he got upset, hit the old woman on the head with something and she fell down. At that moment a tenant from a neighbouring flat came in to find out what all the screaming was about and was also dispatched.

The decision to ask Jackowski for help was taken by the then district chief of police in Będzin, Insp. Dariusz Brandys and his second-in-command, Insp. Zbigniew Klimus, who later became first deputy chief of police in the voivodship of Katowice, and recounted the case as follows:

In January 2006 a block of flats in Będzin was set on fire; after the fire was extinguished two bodies were found, and the post-mortem established that these were the owner of the block and her tenant,” explained Klimus in the monthly “Policja 997” (June 2013). “Their injuries pointed to homicide, but there was no motive. The investigation dragged on and we had done everything we could, so I decided to use a clairvoyant. My superiors were not too happy about it, but I was confident in my decision.” The police went to Człuchów with objects that had belonged to the victims. Within a few hours the clairvoyant provided information about a witness, he told us to talk to the person whose location he gave us. The officers involved add: “We went there: the witness [i.e. Jackowski] said the girl was troubled by the knowledge she had. Thanks to the information from Krzysztof Jackowski the criminals were caught.” According to Inspector Klimus, “Jackowski surprised the police officers who came to see him. He did not know whom to expect but he knew the policemen’s names and told them precisely what their role was in the investigation. It is the job of the police to find the criminals, and how they do it is their business. (...) I was never ashamed of this collaboration and later on I also had help from the clairvoyant on a number of occasions.

WE WOULD NOT HAVE SOLVED THIS CASE WITHOUT JACKOWSKI

Based on Krzysztof Janoszka’s interview with one of the police officers who visited Jackowski, Commissioner Edward Adamek, Superintendent of the District Criminal Investigations Department, Police Headquarters in Będzin, in 2017 (now retired).

In January 2006 there was a fire in Będzin, in a flat in an old apartment block, resulting (as initially thought) in the death of two people. However, it turned out that this was a case of arson, and the post-mortems showed that the bodies had incision wounds and craniofacial injuries, which meant that we were dealing with a double homicide.
The decision to seek help from Krzysztof Jackowski was taken by my then superior, Insp. Dariusz Brandys and his deputy Insp. Zbigniew Klimus. My attitude was very sceptical, all the more so since it was one of my last cases before retiring. Moreover, I am a non-believer, and that includes life after death. But on the other hand I thought, “What’s the harm in trying?” I found out from the police station in Człuchów how to contact Jackowski and then I set out on the night journey to Pomerania (north-western Poland) with two other policemen. We got there early in the morning. And when I saw that clairvoyant, lighting one cigarette after another, I felt even more distanced from the whole enterprise, because I did not really believe in those abilities he was supposed to have.

When we started talking he drew a few lines and said, “I will throw a bit in here, and in here, and in here, but you with the knowledge you have will need to put it all together.” He would give us the pieces of the puzzle and we were to put them together.

Jackowski did not even know where we were from. We only told him that we were from Silesia and it was the question of a killing. So, we gave him the clothes and photos of the victims. He smelled them and put them to his forehead. Every few moments he would get excited, get up, smoke and walk around the flat. It was all spontaneous. Suddenly he started explaining to us: “This killing has two aspects. At the beginning the perpetrators killed their victims, and then returned to remove the traces”. And then he started saying something we did not understand. “I have this impression of some little shop, where the owners are a married couple. There is also a young woman there, a trainee. The husband was cheating on his wife with her. When she [the wife] found out she left him and he started living with that trainee in some village. He is the murderer. He owed some money to the owner of the block. His girlfriend knows all about it. I see a village and a white church eight kilometres from the place where the killing took place.”

After I heard that I was totally mistrustful of his credibility and the point of our visit. What church, what eight kilometres from the murder scene? Some sort of windup! So I say: “mate, what the f… are you talking about?” And suddenly he says: “There, where there is this church, that woman lives there who will tell you all about it. She worked in that shop. Her lover is the one who did it.”

Suddenly he says he is getting confused, takes a piece of paper and writes “Jaskół” on it. He then says: “That’s the word that comes into my mind – Jaskóła, Jaskół. I don’t know what this might be”? So I then say, “Krzysztof, next to me is sitting Jacek Jaskólski, the policeman who was the first at the crime scene”. And then he said: “It’s you, I am getting mixed up because of you!” I was surprised then, and we kept the piece of paper as a souvenir.

On our way back from Jackowski we were confused, but later on we saw a way forward because we established that there really had been a shop in that block, run by a married couple, and a young girl did work there. Where was she from? From Wojkowice Kościelne, some eight kilometres from Będzin. And there really is a characteristic white church there. We also established that the victim – the owner of the block – lived alone; her whole family lived in Canada.

She also had an apartment in the Old Town district in Warsaw, so she was quite well off. The perpetrator rented the premises from her and was behind with the rent. He was supposed to vacate them by 1st January [2006].
We needed a plan of action. Back in Będzin we had a meeting in chief Brandys’s office, with the chief and his deputy Insp. Zbigniew Klimus, later deputy police chief of the Katowice voivodship. We decided to put a plan into action in a few days’ time. Three days later the police brought that girl from Wojkowice Kościelne and she told the full story. There was building work being carried out, and when she was in the toilet she heard through a plaster wall her partner and his friend arranging the murder . They were discussing how to solve the problem. The man was keen to continue his business (by that time he was running a small bar there), but the owner of the block not only demanded the outstanding rent, but also wanted to terminate his lease. So he decided that the simplest solution would be to get rid of the woman. We then got into his computer and found he had recently been looking at “fires”, “explosions” and such like.

His arrest was quite spectacular. We went with an antiterrorist unit to Iwonicz Zdrój, where he was having spa treatment. That’s where we arrested him, and he confessed to everything. He then tried to pretend he was ill, but the medics would not confirm it and he was judged to be fit.

We made an operational note of our meeting with Jackowski but we said nothing about it in court because we would have been laughed out of that court. I don’t even know whether the perpetrators know that it was because of him – or thanks to him – that they ended up in prison. It was Jackowski who made it possible for us to gather very strong evidence against them.

I used to be fairly sceptical about things like that, but after meeting Jackowski I came to believe that there must be something to it. There is no other option. Because – how could he have known about it? It could not have been coincidence or luck. How could he have known that the killing did not take place somewhere in a forest, only in a building where there was a shop on the ground floor? That the name of one of the policemen is Jaskólski? That eight kilometres from Będzin there would be a village, with a church, and the witness would be living there?

I live close to a church but I am not a believer. If I had not visited Jackowski personally I would never have believed it, even from the most trusted policemen. I would think they perhaps embroidered a little, perhaps some coincidence ... But I’d been there! F ... I see a bloke who says “Jaskół” and that if we go to see a woman who lives eight kilometres from the place where the killing took place she will tell us all about it and then we go to her, bring her to the station and she tells us everything, just as Jackowski said!

We never directed Jackowski in any way while we were there. He had no access to the case records, and got no clues from us. We only gave him the clothing and photographs of the victims. What’s more, when he was looking at the photograph of the man he said that he was not the killers’ target and that his death was accidental. Later it turned out that this was true. The man heard shouting and went to see what was happening. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no possibility that Jackowski could have staged this whole story. If it had been a case that had been in the media then perhaps you might try to think up some scenario, but nobody knew about that killing then, not even in Będzin. To start with there was only news of a fire. But he gave us a witness – who it was and where to find her!

The police never admit officially to working with Jackowski. When I hear the spokesman from the police headquarters say that he does not believe that a clairvoyant helped and that the police do not work with people like that, I say, “Mate! What are you talking about, when you’ve only ever seen a corpse perhaps in formalin sometime in training! You were never at a crime scene! You have no idea what operational work is like and you talk that sort of crap? Or is that what you have been told to say?” I’ve come all the way from constable to chief inspector, so I do know a thing or two about it. Obviously, it sounds better when a case is solved by superb police investigation methods and not by using a clairvoyant. But sometimes you need to tell people the truth. Undoubtedly in my case Jackowski helped and I am convinced that he is capable of helping other policemen. He has many statements from the police confirming his help in solving cases from all over the country. They are real, not forced or conventional courtesies, in spite of what some try to claim.

Nobody blamed us for deciding to use Jackowski’s help. Of course it was quite risky. I myself did not believe on the way there, but on the way back – I did. For solving this case Jackowski received from us thanks written by Chief Dariusz Brandys. I assure you he is not the kind of man who would have put his name to something that was not true, or some meaningless bit of paper. Although I admit that the acknowledgment was expressed somewhat diplomatically. It said that Jackowski helped us but in truth he solved the case for us.

The police have nothing to lose by collaborating with a clairvoyant. You become a policeman; you take on this job to solve cases; by what method? It doesn’t matter. What is important is that it should be legal. If standard methods fail, why not use unconventional ones? It’s no shame and no loss. Obviously, a clairvoyant will not serve the solution on a plate, telling you everything in detail and identifying the criminal by name. He will tell you something but the policeman investigating the case has to draw conclusions using that information himself.

Should I be ashamed that I worked with Jackowski? I’ll be honest, I felt greatly honoured. We managed to put away two bastards who killed two people for the sake of two thousand zlotys [ca Ł500]. And that is not the only case where Jackowski helped! There are many of them! Even finding many missing persons – fathers, mothers, sons. Is it not a relief for the families to be able to bury their loved ones and get closure?

“Police press release about two killers being given a sentence of life imprisonment:
District Police Headquarters in Będzin.”

LIFE SENTENCE FOR A KILLING FROM THREE YEARS AGO

The Regional Court in Katowice sentenced two residents of Będzin to life imprisonment, the highest sentence possible in Poland. In a circumstantial prosecution two men aged 28 and 29 were sentenced for a killing, which they carried out nearly three years ago on the night of New Year’s Eve in 2005.

To recap: in the early hours of 2 January 2006 a fire started in one of the apartment blocks at Modrzejowska Street in Będzin. During the firefighting action the bodies of a woman and a man were found in two flats. It was established that the fire was started deliberately, and that the people had died earlier. Thanks to the efforts of the police in Będzin the probable course of events was established, and the perpetrators were identified and detained. The evidence gathered made it possible to take proceedings against them. They were also prosecuted for other crimes, i.e., bodily harm and threats.

The official statement thanking Jackowski and confirming his contribution in the case of the killing of Jadwiga S. and Tadeusz B. and arson at the apartment block, issued by the District Police Headquarters in Będzin, signed by the District Chief of Police in Będzin Insp. Dariusz Brandys and dated 7 August 2006. read:

Your version of events coincided with one of the lines of investigation pursued by the police. The information you provided added to the existing material details, which were not known previously. This enabled officers from the Criminal Investigations Section of the District Police Headquarters in Będzin to undertake actions, which resulted in identifying a witness to the event and collecting the evidence that provided proof of the perpetrator’s guilt and his temporary detention.
With thanks for the help provided and hope for future collaboration.

“Murder with roots in the past” is an extract from The Mind at Large: Clairvoyance, Psychics, Police and Life after Death: A Polish Perspective by Zofia Weaver and Krzysztof Janoszka, published by White Crow Books.

 
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