Reading abandoned baby: Tomasz Grzonka spared jail

The holdall
Image caption The baby was found inside a holdall by Father Edward Stachurski in May last year

A Polish man who abandoned a baby girl on the doorstep of a priest's house has been given a suspended sentence.

Tomasz Grzonka, 27, left the two-and-a-half-week-old in a holdall in Reading last year, Reading Crown Court heard.

His barrister said it was "not uncommon" in Poland for babies to be left anonymously with churches.

Farm labourer Grzonka, of no fixed abode, admitted cruelty to a person under the age of 16 and was given a 16-week jail term suspended for one year.

A woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also faced the same charge but was acquitted during an earlier hearing.

Father Edward Stachurski found the child on the steps of the London Road presbytery of the Polish Church of the Sacred Heart on 3 May, 2012.

'Obscure' motive

Prosecuting, Daniel Fugallo said the priest had returned at 21:00 on a "chilly evening" and saw "a black holdall zipped up almost completely and inside heard the sound of a baby softly crying".

The baby had been left on the steps for about 30 minutes but was in good health, it was heard.

Sentencing Grzonka, Judge Ian Grainger said it was an "unusual and difficult case" and that the motive for the abandonment "remained obscure".

He said despite Grzonka believing the priest was in, "the reality is that anything could've happened to that child before she was found".

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