Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary car park death: Robert Gruszka jailed

Robert Gruszka
Image caption Gruszka's plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide was accepted by the Crown

A Polish man who killed a friend after he lashed out in a temper during a row about alcohol has been jailed for five years and three months.

Robert Gruszka, 38, hit Robert Dudek over the head with a bottle in a bag at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Mr Dudek, 43, was found dead in the grounds of the hospital in April 2013.

Gruszka, 38, was originally charged with murdering Mr Dudek, but the Crown earlier accepted his guilty plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Mr Dudek had gone with friends to Edinburgh's Saughton prison on 5 April to meet Gruszka who was being released from a jail sentence for shoplifting.

They had gone drinking before boarding the wrong bus and being ordered off after the group tried to fare dodge.

'Unusual aspects'

Lord Turnbull told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: "You perpetrated an act of violence which caused the death of your friend.

"The only way in which the court can mark the gravity of an offence such as this is by imposing a custodial sentence."

However, the judge added there were "a number of unusual aspects" to the crime and to the circumstances in which it occurred.

He said: "It is, to my mind, important to note that you and the others present were a group of friends.

"There was no animosity between you, nor any other incidents of argument.

"I accept that the manner of the assault can best be described as a reckless and impulsive act, rather than a calculated or premeditated act."

Image caption Robert Dudek's body was found in bushes at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

The judge said he accepted that defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC was right to suggest that the incident had repercussions beyond what might reasonably have been anticipated.

Lord Turnbull said he recognised it was "out of all proportion" to what Gruszka had intended.

He told him although he had a record of previous offending he had no history of violent conduct and had expressed remorse.

The judge told him he would have faced a seven-year jail sentence for the offence, but for his guilty plea.

Advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC earlier told the court that Gruszka had moved to Scotland about five years ago from Poland - where he had served time in prison - to seek work and for "a better way of life".

Det Ch Insp David McLaren, of Police Scotland, said: "While nothing can undo the pain caused to Robert Dudek's family, Gruska's earlier guilty plea to culpable homicide has spared them the ordeal of a full trial and I sincerely hope they can now begin to move on with their lives."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites