Sofija Kaczan death: Mugging accused 'would not steal'

Artur Waszkiewicz in the dock
Image caption Artur Waszkiewicz admits finding the bag but said it was empty

A man accused of mugging a 100-year-old woman who died after the attack told a court he was "not prepared to steal".

Sofija Kaczan died of pneumonia on 6 June in Normanton, Derby, days after suffering a fractured neck during a bag-snatch.

Artur Waszkiewicz, 40, of Wolfa Street, Derby, denies manslaughter and robbery but admits being in the area and finding the bag.

He said he saw no-one and would have tried to return it if possible.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sofija Kaczan was on her way to church when she was attacked

Mrs Kaczan died nine days after the attack near her home on Empress Road as she walked to church at about 08:30 BST.

Mr Waszkiewicz said he stopped his car after seeing the handbag in the street and then drove off with it.

He told the court: "I was not prepared to steal and I didn't steal anything."

On finding the bag empty, the court heard he threw it away in nearby Moore Street, where it was soon found.

He said he saw no-one else on the street and had never seen or been aware of Mrs Kaczan before his arrest.

He said: "I didn't rob no-one and I didn't see her - if I did see her I would probably ask, 'Miss, is that your bag?'"

Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption A receipt with Artur Waszkiewicz's fingerprint on it was found in the stolen bag, the jury heard
Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption CCTV shows Artur Waszkiewicz stopping his silver car and dumping Sofija Kaczan's handbag

Kate Brunner QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Waszkiewicz: "When you were arrested, you had £100, was that the remainder of the money stolen from Mrs Kaczan?"

He replied: "No that was my money."

The jury heard Mr Waszkiewicz had a string of convictions for shoplifting between 2001 and 2016 and driving offences, including having a fraudulent licence, interfering with a car and possessing false identity documents for a driving licence.

Mr Waszkiewicz said these offences were carried out while he was living a different lifestyle with different friends in London.

The trial continues.

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