THE partner of a man accused of being involved in the murder and mutilation of a Polish father-of-one has told jurors she was 'afraid' of one of his co-accused.

Tomasz Dembler's body was recovered from a shallow grave in woodland on the outskirts of a North East beauty spot in April last year.

The 31-year-old had been beaten to death in a house in Middlesbrough before his body was dumped in a shallow grave.

Five people are on trial at Teesside Crown Court accused of his murder.

Today, jurors heard Anna Czerwinski say Zbigniew Pawlowski turned up at her door after her partner, Tomasz Recycki, had been arrested in connection with the murder investigation.

The Northern Echo: Tomasz DemblerTomasz Dembler

Giving her evidence with the assistance of a Polish interpreter, she said she had never met Mr Dembler and didn't know who he was until after he disappeared.

Her partner's defence barrister, Zafar Ali QC, asked Miss Czerwinski why she hadn't opened the door when Pawlowski turned up at her home.

She said: "Once I was supposed to pass him information that he was to contact a solicitors. I sent him a text message with the address of the law company which can provide him such service.

"Watson Woodhouse - the same company as Tomasz’s company. Besides that I texted him, he came to me and asked me to accompany him to this company, but I refused."

When asked why she refused, she replied: "Because I am afraid of this man."

Jurors heard how Miss Czerwinski is the sister of defendant Adam, the cousin of Rafal Chmielewski, and the partner of Tomasz Recycki, - who are all accused of murdering Mr Dembler alongside Pawlowski and Chmielewski's girlfriend Monika Solerska.

Under cross examination from Pawlowski's barrister, Toby Hedworth QC, she maintained that she was 'afraid' of his client.

Mr Hedworth said: "The suggestion that you were afraid of Pawlowski is something you have recently been told to say."

"I don't remember," she said.

Mr Hedworth asked the witness if she had ever become affectionate towards Pawlowski in the past and had sent him a text the following day to apologise for what you said.

She said: "Maybe."

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how Pawlowski is also alleged to have pulled a gun of one of the men when he tried to intervene in the violence.

Peter Makepeace QC, prosecuting, said Mr Dembler was beaten to death in the house on Edward Street in the early hours of March 21.

His severely beaten body was found by two teenagers buried in a shallow grave in woodland near to Flatts Lane Country Park.

The Northern Echo: Police van and cordon in place in woodland near Flats Lane Country ParkPolice van and cordon in place in woodland near Flats Lane Country Park

Pawlowski, 41, of Leven Street, Newport, Middlesbrough; Rafal Chmielewski, 37, of Birchington Avenue, Grangetown; Tomasz Reczycki, 37, of Ashfield Avenue, Grove Hill, Middlesbrough; Monika Solerska, 37, of Birchington Avenue, Grangetown; and Adam Czerwinski, 45, of Edward Street, North Ormesby, all deny murder.

The trial continues.

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