Two men suspected of murdering missing man in UK face 'rare step' of being prosecuted in Poland
EXCLUSIVE: TWO men suspected of murdering a missing man in the UK are facing the "rare step" of being prosecuted for the crime overseas, despite British police believing the body was hidden here.
The suspects were charged in connection with the murder probe in England, but they were later dropped and the men face extradition to Poland.
A police source described the decision as "rare" and "unusual," but said there was close cooperation between UK and Polish police over the case.
Polish national Andrzej Mucha, (top right) who would now be 58, was reported missing from Slough, on December 30 2021 and his last known phone contact with his daughter Paulina (below) was on November 29 the same year.
In June 2022 she made an emotional appeal in the hope he was still alive, saying: "Dad’s phone is switched off, he hasn’t been back at his usual place of living. He hasn’t contacted either his family or friends... such a disappearance is out of character."
Thames Valley Police launched a murder probe as there was no "proof of life" and in July 2022 Tomasz Weiss, 33, (top left) was arrested in connection with the probe before Adrian Pietraszewski, 25, was also arrested.
Pietraszewski was already in prison in the UK after he was arrested under an earlier European Arrest Warrant issued by Poland in 2021, where he was wanted for unrelated offences of assaulting police, criminal damage and theft.
However, he removed his tag while on bail and absconded, before being caught and remanded in custody.
In February the pair, both of no fixed abode, were each charged by Thames Valley Police with one count of preventing a lawful burial of a dead body and also perverting the course of justice in connection with Andrej's murder.
The charges were withdrawn at Reading Crown Court this month and they instead face extradition to Poland, where they are expected to be charged with the murder, despite no body being found.
At a Westminster Magistrates' Court hearing on August 7 Weiss had legal aid varied to allow an advocate due to circumstances making "proceedings unusually grave or difficult," according to District Judge Michael Snow.
A full extradition hearing is due in November.
Thames Valley Police believes Andrzej was killed in the UK and is still searching for his body.
A force spokesman said: "Thames Valley Police has been working with detectives in Poland and Polish authorities in order to run a joint investigation.
"An extradition process is ongoing for Adrian Pietraszewski and Tomasz Grzegorz Weiss, both Polish nationals, to face trial in Poland, for the alleged murder of Andrzej Mucha in the UK.
"As a matter of legal process the charges of preventing a lawful burial, that the men were facing in the UK, have been officially discontinued. We will continue to work with our Polish colleagues in order to progress the ongoing investigation in Poland.
"Thames Valley Police continues to conduct enquiries to locate Mr Mucha (above)."
A spokeswoman for Silesian Police in Poland said: "Silesian criminal investigators contacted the family of the wanted man to obtain more information about the circumstances of the disappearance.
"The collected material allowed an application to the District Prosecutor's Office in Gliwice to initiate a homicide investigation."
Polish Police also confirmed two Poles seen in the company of Andrzej in November 2021, had returned to Poland since his disappearance and a woman in her 20s and a man in his 30s were arrested in Poland in connection with Andrzej's murder.
Former Met Police intelligence officer Steve Morris said it was an unusual case, but added: "Normally suspects are tried in the country where the offence was committed,
"Maybe they want it tried in Poland because the witnesses don’t want to come to the UK?"