Derby robbery death: Funeral told of 100-year-old's strength

Sofija Kaczan Image copyright PA
Image caption Sofija Kaczan, 100, was a well-loved member of the community

Friends and well-wishers have gathered for the funeral of a 100-year-old woman whose neck was broken when her handbag was snatched.

Sofija Kaczan died in hospital over a week after being attacked in the Normanton area of Derby on 28 May.

The service was held at Maksymilian Kolbe Church, on Gordon Road - the church Ms Kaczan was walking to at the time of the bag snatch.

Arthur Waszkiewicz, from west London, has denied manslaughter and robbery.

Image caption Ms Kaczan's death has left a big impression on her friends and the local community

Ms Kaczan, who was born in Poland, came to the UK after escaping a Nazi prison camp during World War Two.

Although she has no remaining family, friends said her death had left a big impression on those who knew her and the local community.

The service was spoken mostly in Polish with an English-translated leaflet.

Image caption Much of the service was in Polish but the eulogy was in English

In an English language eulogy, her friend Anna Zimand, said: "The horrors she saw and the conditions she had to endure are indescribable.

"That she was able to survive shows what strength of character she had."

Ms Zimand said Ms Kaczan was "remarkably active" and was "such a staunch supporter" of her local Polish church.

Image caption Friend Anna Zimand said she wanted mourners to remember Ms Kaczan's "courage"

She said she received congratulations from the Pope for her 100th birthday, which she celebrated with friends.

"She was still looking forward to her life and whatever milestones were yet to come," she said.

"Sofija's spirit is present here and I know that she would be so touched by the kindness... the prayers.

"She would have wanted to say thank you to the people who cared for her... and all of you who have come to pay your respects."

Mr Waszkiewicz, 39, of Hilary Road, Shepherds Bush, will stand trial on 3 December at Derby Crown Court.

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