Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Flatmate guilty of Maciej Ciania's murder in Edinburgh

Grzegorz Gamla
Image caption Grzegorz Gamla, also a Polish national, was found guilty of Maciej Ciania's murder

A 26-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering a Polish man in his own flat in Edinburgh.

Maciej Ciania, 34, was found dead in a Dickson Street flat on 14 January 2012. He had suffered multiple stab wounds during an attack by his former friend.

Grzegorz Gamla, also a Polish national, was found guilty of his murder at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Gamla was also found guilty of assault to severe injury for a previous assault on Mr Ciania.

Sentence in Glasgow next month was deferred for background reports.

Mr Ciania's sister, Aleksandra Poprawska, said: "Maciej lived in Edinburgh for 10 years and from the very beginning he regarded the city as his second home.

"We would like to thank wholeheartedly all those who have been helping us since my brother's tragic death, including the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service - they were like a light in the darkness surrounding us and did everything they could to ease our pain.

"Nothing will bring Maciej back but we are relieved to know that the person who committed this terrible crime will probably never hurt anyone again and no other family will suffer like we do."

Mr Ciania was stabbed and slashed 37 times after a row over a few pounds in household bills, the trial heard.

When he heard the body had been discovered by their flatmate, Gamla, 26, picked up a backpack and fled.

Image caption Maciej Ciania's body was discovered by his flatmate at his home in Leith

After taking a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast, Gamla travelled on to Dublin then flew to Warsaw.

He was arrested by Polish authorities a month later and brought back to Scotland.

On Thursday a jury rejected his claim that he was acting in self-defence and found him guilty.

Judge Lord Pentland told him the murder was "brutal and savage" and displayed a disturbing level of violence.

Forensic scientists found traces which suggested three knives had been used in the attack.

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, told jurors how Gamla used a power tools set to make a box to hide the body.

Scientists found Gamla's DNA on a mop handle and Mr Ciania's blood on the mop, suggesting an attempt to clean up.

Gamla was forced to leave the flat when Darius Reivytis, 29, and his Spanish girlfriend Beatriz Del Valle, 26, returned from a trip to the Highlands.

Lithuanian Mr Reivytis said he lifted a green blanket and saw the back of Mr Ciania's head.

He and Ms Del Valle also found blood-stains throughout the flat and called the police.

Det Insp Stuart Houston, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "Maciej Ciania's family have lost a much-loved son and brother and experienced a truly terrible and life-changing ordeal.

"I am extremely grateful to the Polish authorities who, along with Lothian and Borders Police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, assisted in securing the timely arrest of Grzegorz Gamla in Poland.

"The support provided to the force from the Polish community in Edinburgh, particularly from local churches and Polish support organizations, was crucial in our investigation and I would like to thank them publicly."

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