Piotr Kulinski murder-accused 'paid protection money'

Piotr Kulinski Factory worker Piotr Kulinski suffered seven stab wounds after leaving home for an early shift

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One of three people accused of killing a Polish man outside his Carlisle home has told a jury that he paid the victim protection money.

Piotr Kulinski, 32, was stabbed in an attack in Harraby on 14 October.

Piotr Zygner, 30, Pauline Mucha, 26, and Sylwester Kawalec, 23, all of Currock Road, Carlisle, deny murder.

Mr Zygner told Carlisle Crown Court that Mr Kulinski had been one of a group of men who persistently threatened him.

He said that a former girlfriend took amphetamines to help her through night shifts, which were supplied by Mr Kulinski, and that was how he first met him.

Mr Zygner was offered protection and money to sell drugs too, but he declined, he told the jury.

He also described how in 2010 a group of Mr Kulinski's friends attacked him at his house with a hammer following a row.

'Gun gesture'

After that he said he was persistently threatened and arranged to pay them £200 a month.

Earlier in the hearing Mr Kulinski's partner, Katrina Plominska, said that prior to his attack he had told police that he had been having problems with the two male defendants after he bumped into Mr Kawalec in a pub.

She said that he had been stabbed by them two weeks before his death.

Referring to this incident, Mr Zygner said that while walking home from work with tools in his bag Mr Kulinski drove past and gestured the sign of a gun at him with his hand, then got out and chased him.

Mr Zygner said: "I was afraid of him, he was bigger than me, he had threatened me with a gun.

"He was unpredictable. So I got out a screwdriver from my bag."

He told that court that he must have hit him with the screwdriver during the fight that subsequently ensued.

The trial, which is expected to last another four weeks, continues.

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