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16 November 2012, 16:29
A man who murdered a jeweller in Suffolk whilst on the run from a Polish prison has been sentenced to life in prison
A man who beat and stabbed a disabled man to death while on the run from a Polish prison had a long criminal record in his own country, a court heard today.
Ireneusz Melaniuk was ordered to serve a minimum of 26 years of a life sentence at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty to the murder of Suffolk jeweller Peter Avis, 66.
The 28-year-old, who showed no emotion in court, also admitted burglary.
Passing sentence, Judge John Devaux told Melaniuk: ``You have previous convictions in Poland for offences which include burglary and robbery.
``You were unlawfully at large on January 13 and 14 when the murder happened. When you murdered Peter Avis you should have been in Poland not at large in this country.
``You murdered a particularly vulnerable man, in his home and using a knife which you had brought to the scene.
``Your victim was powerless and unable to defend himself yet you repeatedly wounded him.
``It is an aggravating factor that when you committed murder you were a criminal on the run.''
Mr Avis was found dead in his flat above WH Collis and Son jewellers in Bury St Edmunds in January. It later emerged he was killed in a burglary gone wrong.
At the time Melaniuk was wanted in Poland after absconding from a prison term for a robbery offence.
He was not on a European ``watch list'' meaning he was able to enter the UK undetected, raising questions over how European countries share information.
British and Polish authorities must now decide which country he will serve his sentence in.
The court earlier heard how Kamel Kita, 21, Pawel Pacian, 35, Pawel Borowiecki, 31, and Aleksandra Karpiuk, 27, all played a part in either planning the burglary or helping Melaniuk escape.
They were all jailed at a previous hearing.