Judge rejects challenge against bail for man accused of murdering uncle

A man charged with murdering his uncle at their remote Co Antrim home had soup and went to bed after allegedly inflicting the fatal blows, the High Court has heard.

Marek Sinko claimed he punched his uncle five times

Marek Sinko told police he struck Eugeniusz Sinko in a “brutal” fight over money and a missing bottle of vodka, at one point instructing the victim: “Get up and serve like a man.”

New details emerged as the Public Prosecution Service failed in an appeal against bail being granted to the 36-year-old accused.

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Eugeniusz Sinko, 53, was found dead in a yard outside the cottage shared by the two Polish nationals at Townhill Road, Rasharkin last October.

His body was partially clothed, which a Crown lawyer claimed that was consistent with him having been dragged outside.

A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was a traumatic brain injury.

The court heard Marek Sinko had been arrested at the time, telling police he punched his uncle five times to the face after a row broke out.

But prosecution counsel Kate McKay said more than 60 injuries were discovered on the victim’s body – some likely to have been caused by kicks.

Based on the accused’s own account, she contended that the two men had a history of heavy drinking and bouts of violence.

On the night of the alleged murder they were said to have argued and fought again over the missing vodka and money.

Marek Sinko claimed he struck his uncle with “powerful” punches as he sat in the kitchen, knocking him against a cupboard.

“He stated that he told him ‘Get up and serve like a man’,” Mrs McKay told the court.

According to the defendant he went outside for a smoke at one point, and then saw the older man bare-chested and trying to wash at a tap.

He claimed that he went back inside, got himself a bowl of soup and went to bed. When he got up the following day he allegedly found his uncle lying dead.

Mrs McKay continued: “He said he tried chest pumps, but he (Eugeniusz Sinko) was stone cold.”

She argued that the victim could not have gone by himself to the outside tap because he would have been unconscious within minutes from the injuries sustained inside the property.

Defence barrister Stephen Law insisted his client still has the support of relatives in Poland over what he described as a “family tragedy”.

Counsel also stressed that information about what happened was supplied to police by the accused.

Prosecutors were challenging a magistrates’ court decision to grant bail, arguing the Marek Sinko could flee if released.

But Mr Justice Burgess refused the appeal after pointing out that he has breached no terms since first questioned seven months ago.

He said: “I’m happy to agree with the conclusions reached by the district judge, but I will add one extra condition – he’s not to leave Northern Ireland without first getting the consent of the PSNI.”