Richmond prostitutes' rivalry and jealousy led to bloodshed and hammer murder, court hears

Prostitutes' rivalry and jealousy led to bloodshed and hammer murder, court hears

Found dead in her flat: Bernadeta Nawracaj

The Towerrs: Scene of the alleged crime

First published in News
Last updated
Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A Polish prostitute repeatedly hit her flatmate over the head with a hammer and killed her in a jealous rage before leaving her there for two weeks, it has been claimed in court.

Edyta Zawadzka, 30, a mother-of-one, denied murdering 43-year-old Bernadeta Nawracaj between November 16 and 30 last year at the flat they shared in Lower Mortlake Road.

The pair worked as prostitutes in the first floor flat in The Towers, Richmond, where the bloodied body of the alleged victim was found by police on November 30, the court heard.

Prosecuting, Sarah Plaschkes told Isleworth Crown Court Ms Nawracaj was repeatedly hit on the head with a hammer and medical reports revealed she took 48 hours to die.

She said: "This was motivated by a combination of jealousy, anger and greed - financial gain."

The alleged victim, who also worked as a driving instructor, moved to the UK from Poland with her three children in 2001 and changed her name by deed poll to Julia Anders.

A friend of the two women, and fellow prostitute, said she thought the defendant had become jealous of Ms Anders because she had more clients and earned more money, about £3,000 a week, the court heard.

The body was found after Ms Anders’ sister reported her missing to the police, but it was claimed in court the defendant sent text messages from the alleged victim’s Sim card to relatives, including her daughter, saying she was OK.

The jury was told the defendant also used Ms Anders’ credit cards to withdraw cash and go shopping.

The last time Ms Anders was seen alive was November 16 and police found her body in the flat after she was reported missing by her sister, the court heard.

A red jacket found in the flat was linked by DNA to Ms Zawadzka and CCTV images from her alleged shopping spree, the prosecution said.

The alleged murder weapon, a hammer, was found in a handbag in the flat of a client of Ms Zawadzka’s, who was her boyfriend at the time, the prosecution claimed.

The court was told the hammer had blood stains on one side which matched that of Ms Anders and had the defendant’s DNA on it.

Medical reports referred to by the prosecution said Ms Anders’ head had been "severely macerated" as the result of several repeated blows and she suffered "significant and severe trauma".

Miss Plaschkes said: "The fact that Julia was never seen or heard of after that night [Nov 16] means the attack must have happened that night."

She claimed Ms Anders was killed by Ms Zawadzka who then used her credit cards, her car and "embarked upon a fairly elaborate pretence to convince people that she was still alive and thus avoid a police investigation".

The trial continues.

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