Heroin addict jailed for killing 100-year-old Nazi camp survivor in mugging

A heroin addict has been jailed for 15 years for killing a 100-year-old Nazi prison camp survivor who was mugged and left bleeding in a road.

Artur Waszkiewicz knocked Zofija Kaczan to the ground from behind and snatched her bag on 28 May last year because he needed £20 to buy heroin.

Polish-born widow Mrs Kaczan suffered a fractured neck and cheekbone in the street robbery.

She died from pneumonia in hospital nine days later - a condition which was brought on by the attack close to the junction of St Chads Road and Empress Road in Normanton, Derby.

Waszkiewicz snatched Ms Kaczan's green handbag with so much force that the handle was ripped off and the pensioner was left with severe bruising on her arm.

The 40-year-old, from Shepherd's Bush in west London, was unanimously convicted of manslaughter and robbery by a jury at Derby Crown Court on Wednesday.

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: "True to your nature as a petty criminal and heroin addict, this was opportunist crime of the meanest, most despicable type."

He described the killer as a "coward" who had picked his victim because she was vulnerable.

"All this for modest gain and for you to satisfy your craving for heroin," Judge Dean added.

Waszkiewicz was caught on CCTV driving a Seat Leon minutes before the attack, before screeching to a halt when he spotted an "easy target" - Mrs Kaczan.

Jurors heard he later tried to cover his tracks by cleaning his car, shaving his long hair off and changing the insurance details on his car.

Police officers found him hiding under a bed at his mother's address in Shepherd's Bush.

His trial heard he was so desperate to find cash for drugs that he had tried to sell his dog and had asked a neighbour for money.

Ms Kaczan was originally sentenced to death on her birthday by the Nazis in Poland.

After surviving the prison camp she had been detained in, she moved to Derby in 1948.

The judge said: "There is tragic irony in the fact that Mrs Kaczan had survived the unimaginable horror of a Nazi concentration camp and slave labour, as well as imminent execution - only to meet her end because of the cowardly and sordid actions of a petty criminal and drug addict on the streets of Derby.

"Mrs Kaczan would not have wanted her life to be defined by the circumstances of her death. She had prayed for and forgiven her attacker which is testament to the good person she was."