Father rejects killer's rough sex defence

By Myles Bonnar
BBC Disclosure

  • Published
chloe miazek
Image caption,
Chloe Miazek was killed after a night out in Aberdeen

The father of a 20-year-old who was killed by a man she met after a night out says his daughter was unfairly shamed by her killer's defence.

Chloe Miazek died at a flat in Aberdeen in November 2017 after she was strangled by Mark Bruce.

Speaking out for the first time, her father Bob rejects the claim that his daughter and Bruce had a "shared interest" in asphyxiation during sex.

He says it was later admitted by Bruce that the pair never even discussed it.

In fact, the court was told that Bruce had accepted, when sentencing reports were being prepared after his conviction, he did not have the consent of his victim to use strangulation during sex.

The death of Chloe Miazek was recently echoed in the case of British backpacker Grace Millane who was strangled by a man she met on a Tinder date in New Zealand.

Both Ms Millane and Ms Miazek were unable to defend themselves from claims that their deaths were "kinky sex games" gone wrong.

Ms Miazek's father says his daughter was just an ordinary young girl on a night out who was killed by a man she had just met.

Image caption,
Mark Bruce pleaded guilty to culpable homicide

Her killer was originally charged with murder but Bruce pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide and was sentenced to six years.

When he was convicted at the High Court in Aberdeen in March 2018, there was an "agreed narrative" between the Crown prosecutors and the defence over what happened that night.

The court was told how Ms Miazek was ejected from a nightclub and met Bruce, who had also been drinking, at a bus stop in the early hours.

They went back to Bruce's flat and the CCTV footage of Ms Miazek entering the building is the last time she was seen alive.

Through his tears, Ms Miazek's father told BBC Disclosure how the family felt sidelined by the legal process and how his daughter's reputation was trashed without her being able to defend herself.

Mr Miazek thinks personal remarks about his daughter's private life were used to reduce the culpability of Bruce.

Image caption,
Bob Miazek says his daughter Chloe was just an ordinary Scottish girl

The killer's defence lawyer told the judge that Ms Miazek had "somewhat lost her way" and was "experimenting...with drink, drugs and sexual practices", a claim her father rejects.

The defence lawyer also referenced a statement taken from a previous partner of Ms Miazek that outlined "erotic sexual asphyxiation was something she was interested in", although the couple never practised it.

The lawyer told the judge that Bruce could not recall the specifics of what happened on the night Ms Miazek died but he said that it seemed they had "a shared interest in that particular practice".

The statements in court still haunt Bob Miazek and his wife Theresa.

"They used quite a long time to implicate Chloe," Bob says. "And that was when all the headlines hit the tabloids. We had to sit through that and listen to that about our little girl."

The Daily Record ran with "strangled to death in kinky sex romp" while The Scottish Sun and Daily Mail both referenced a fatal "sex game".

Mr Miazek rejects the suggestion that his daughter consented to the fatal violence inflicted by Mark Bruce.

He questions how someone who has strangled a person to death is allowed to say the victim consented without any proof.

The BBC can reveal that the sentencing in April 2018 calls the defence's original claims into question.

After reading out sections of Mark Bruce's "Criminal Justice Social Work Report", his defence lawyer stated that Bruce had told the authors of the report "there was no conversation between himself and Ms Miazek about violence during sex, there was no discussion and that at no point would she have expected such".

The lawyer added: "In particular, Mr Bruce has stated in this report, or it is recorded in this report, that he accepts that he did not have the consent of the victim to use strangulation during sex."

Mr Miazek recalls hearing this statement in court. "We stood up and we're like…'this means murder'," he says.

The same report that stated Chloe did not give consent also referenced that Bruce had previously choked a partner during sex.

Image caption,
Chloe Miazek had only just met Mark Bruce

Although Bruce swiftly took responsibility for Chloe's death, Mr Miazek questions why more was not made of his failure to call for help.

Three hours after Ms Miazek was last seen alive, Bruce left the flat but it took more than an hour before he handed himself into a local police station, confessing that he had killed her.

"Our opinion was he didn't report it anywhere near [early] enough. He should have reported it when it happened," Mr Miazek says.

"He should've done something, not just leave her," he added.

Mr Miazek says what happened has had a ripple effect through the whole family.

He says that Chloe's death and the aftermath of it is still affecting "brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews" and that he doesn't know how long is it going to take for the pain to subside.

"The law should actually help people that are the victims," he says.

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