‘Truly evil’ dad who murdered toddler son abandons appeal over life jail sentence

A depraved dad who murdered his own two-year-old son has dropped his conviction appeal to overturn a decision to send him to jail for life.

Lukasz Czapla, then 41, was unanimously found guilty of the killing of Julius Czapla in Muirhouse, Edinburgh, in November 2020.

During a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier this year, a jury found him unanimously guilty of murder and he was sentenced to at least 23 years behind bars in May.

The court had heard that Czapla, 41, originally from Gdansk in Poland, shot Julius in the head with a BB gun, stabbed him with a skewer-like instrument and smothered him with a pillow.

The sickening and brutal murder of his innocent son was an act of “revenge and jealousy” to get back at his former partner, the trial heard.

But within weeks of his conviction, the twisted father lodged an appeal against both his conviction and sentence.

A hearing was set for the High Court later this month, but the appeal has now been dropped.

Following the verdict, Patrycja Szczesniak, Julius’ mother, released at statement through Police Scotland saying her little boy had trusted his father “completely”.

She said: “Despite the break-up with Julius’s dad, I wanted him to have contact with our son.

“I never stopped him seeing Julius. Julek (Julius) loved him like every child loves their dad.

“He trusted him, he trusted him completely. Julius was murdered only for revenge.

“His dad wanted me to suffer, he succeeded and achieved his goal, at the cost of my beloved little boy’s life.”

Czapla, a former IT technician, offered to plead guilty to culpable homicide, claiming diminished responsibility, but prosecutors persevered to convict him of murder.

The jury delivered their verdict after a two week trial, and judge Lord Beckett sentenced Czapla to life in prison, with a minimum of 23 years before he is eligible for parole.

Addressing Czapla, Lord Beckett said: “As a result of your actions, your son will never grow up.”

He described the murder as “truly evil, causing a defenceless child considerable distress”.

A toxicology report revealed Czapla had been drinking and taking anti-depressants the night he murdered his son.

Lord Beckett told him: “There is no excuse you were filled with drink and drugs.

“You acted out of spite to kill this child to get back at his mother.”

Remorseless Czapla showed no reaction as he was led away in handcuffs, but had claimed during the trial he did not intend for his son to “suffer”.

He previously told the court: “I did not want him to suffer at all, that was not my intention. I had this stupid idea from the TV that people just die instantly.”

Czapla claimed that he killed his son because he had decided to end his own life and could not face leaving Julius without a father like he had been.

After shooting him in the head with the air gun, Czapla realised the toddler was still alive but paralysed – and so proceeded to stab and smother him.

Lord Beckett told members of the jury they would be given access to counselling following the “harrowing” trial.

He said: “I suspect this case exceeds the awfulness of cases that we hear.

“There can be nothing in your lives that will prepare you for this experience, I imagine it’s taken quite a toll for you to hear about such terrible violence inflicted on such a defenceless child for no reason, and bad reasons.”

Czapla had previously pleaded guilty to nine other charges on the indictment, including dangerous driving offences and possession of an air gun.

Sentences for each of these will run concurrently with his life sentence, the court heard.