Northern Ireland

Rasharkin death nephew in court charged with murder

Eugeniusz Sinko, 53, was found dead in Rasharkin last October
Image caption Eugeniusz Sinko, 53, was found dead in Rasharkin last October

A 36-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering his uncle in a drunken attack near Rasharkin, County Antrim.

Eugeniusz Sinko, 53, was found dead in the back garden of a house in Townhill Road last October.

Six months later his nephew - Marek Sinko of Townhill Road in Rasharkin - appeared in court in Ballymena.

He was arrested at the time but released on police bail.

A police officer told the court that was because a cause of death had not yet been established.

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Image caption Marek Sinko arrives at cout

The court was told the victim, originally from Poland, was found partially clothed with wounds to his face.

The defendant, who the victim shared the house with, told police they had consumed a large amount of alcohol and a "brutal" fight broke out over rent.

A police officer told the court he could connect Marek Sinko to the charge.

He said the charge was brought as a recent medical report had established that the victim had died as a result of a traumatic brain injury.

He said the injury was consistent with falling from a height, a serious road crash or a serious assault.

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Image caption The court was told marks found on Mr Sinko's body were consistent with being dragged from the kitchen to the garden

He said in this case it was "obvious" the injury was due to a serious assault.

He also said there was evidence some of the blood in the cottage scene had been cleaned up.

The accused had told police he punched his uncle five times, but the court was told a post-mortem examination found more than 60 injuries.

Mr Sinko's defence solicitor told the court his client never intended to hurt his uncle.

When the murder charge was put to him he said he understood.

Judge Nigel Broderick granted bail on the grounds Mr Sinko had been on police bail since October and had not breached his conditions.

The prosecution said it would appeal the ruling and the matter is now with the High Court before a final decision is made.

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