A man who ran a money-lending operation in Donegal has been jailed for a total of two years after threatening to kill a man over a €70 debt.
Miroslaw Kluczak ran a money-lending business in Letterkenny and collected his debts outside the local post office after people received their social welfare payments.
On April 4th, 2013, Kluczak, 39, met Leszek Majewski and his wife outside the post office and demanded his cash.
Majewski had borrowed €200 for which he had to pay back €225.
The defendant couldn’t pay the remaining €70 of the cash as he had to transfer money back to his 18 year old son in Poland for schoolbooks.
Later that morning, Klucsak visited Leszek and his wife Barbar at their home at 20 Celtic Apartments near Domino’s Pizza.
The accused pulled a gun from beneath his coat and put it to his head.
“He came in looked around and was nervous. He took a gun from inside his jacket – he grabbed me by my jacket and put a gun to my head. He said “Give me the money back or I will kill you.” He was swearing. I told him shoot me and he then put the gun hard into my head .
“My wife ran out. He was trying to shake me but then when he realised she was gone and he pushed me on top of the fridge and he ran out,” said the defendant.
Ms Majewski ran to a local clothing shop Wisteria and asked the proprietor to call the police saying her husband needed an ambulance and was covered in blood.
Garda Darren Carter said he met Barbar in a very frightened state when she called Gardai.
“She was in such a state of panic. She was trembling. She was just beckoning us to follow her,” he said.
Garda Carter called to the home of the accused and asked about the alleged incident and if he had a weapon.
He said the only evidence of any weapon was a cardboard box for a pellet gun.
Kluczak, of 59 The Maples, Lismonaghan, Letterkenny, said it belonged to a friend who had moved to Dublin.
He said he did not mix with the Polish community as they drank too much and did not have a good reputation.
He said he visited the gym daily and took out adverts in a local Polish contacts website to help his business and that he did not collect welfare benefits.
Barrister Peter Nolan said his client had denied that any gun was ever used.
He put it to Mr Majewski that himself and his wife drank too much vodka and their apartment was strewn with empty alcohol bottles.
The couple completely denied this and Garda Carter said this had not been the situation he found at the couple’s apartment.
Barrister for the state, Ms Patricia McLoughlin, described this as a “mean lie” and that it was simply not true.
She said the defendants accepted that they owed money but said the evidence was there that they had been threatened.
The jury took an hour to reach their decision and found Kluczak guilty of making threats to kill and demanding money with menace.
Judge John O’Hagan, addressing Letterkenny Circuit Court, said the accused had terrorised the couple.
He sentenced Klucsak to three years for each charge but suspended the last year and ordered both sentences to run concurrently.