NI Crown Court: Murderer who lied that girlfriend died in ‘sex game gone wrong’ receives lengthy sentence

NI Crown Court: Murderer who lied that girlfriend died in 'sex game gone wrong' receives lengthy sentence

A Northern Ireland Crown Court, sitting at Laganside Courthouse, determined that a murderer must wait 20 years before being eligible for parole.

This was based on the defendant’s lies regarding how his girlfriend had died, and the general lack of remorse shown by the defendant.


The defendant pleaded guilty to the 2020 murder of Patrycja Wyrebek, his girlfriend, who was just 20 years old. He was then 23. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

At 1:55am on 2 August 2020, the defendant’s aunt received a message from him, asking if she knew where Ms Wyrebek was, calling her “a slut”. A short time later, he cycled to his aunt’s house and said: “Auntie, I’ve done that, I’ve killed her.”

He said he punched and hit her as much as he could and choked her for 20 minutes. He also said that he took pleasure in the killing.

Police arrived to the scene and saw the deceased in the bath. The bedsheets, pillow and duvet were all bloodstained. There was a bottle of bleach in the bedroom, suggestive of an attempt to clean up the scene.

The defendant was not in the house at this stage, he was hiding behind an oil tank in the rear garden, threatening to hurt himself with a kitchen knife. He had also drank some bleach at some point. The stand-off came to an end when he was shot with a Taser.

Cause of death

During police interviews, the defendant claimed that Ms Wyrebek’s death was caused accidentally during a game of erotic asphyxiation. He claimed that she never used the “pre-arranged safe signal” and didn’t show any sign of discontent.

He claimed that he blacked out, and when he woke some hours later she was lying dead beside him.

Later, when speaking to the Northern Ireland Probation Board for his pre-sentence report, he abandoned the sex act gone wrong explanation. Instead, he claimed that they had argued about him having an alleged gay lover, and that he accidentally killed her during the altercation.

He claimed that this attack was interrupted when they heard a knock at the front door. When he went to check, nobody was there, and he returned upstairs to find Ms Wyrebek dead. However, CCTV footage indicated that no one had knocked at the door. At no time did he seek any help.

There were many discrepancies. His aunt claimed that the killing had been intentional and that he took pleasure in the killing, which he was now denying.

The Defendant

The court noted that the defendant had abused alcohol almost every day. This frequently resulted in him being aggressive, but he “did not intend to do anything about it until he had children”.

A consultant psychiatrist report confirmed, however, that the defendant had no “abnormality of mind which substantially impaired his ability to understand what he was doing or to exercise self-control”. It found that he presented a significant risk of serious harm.


It was against this backdrop that the court was required to consider the sentence that should be imposed before the defendant could be considered for parole. The question was whether the court should rely on the normal starting point of 12 years, or the higher starting point of 15–16 years.

The prosecution contended that the higher starting point was appropriate, given the fact that Ms Wyrebek was vulnerable, having experienced previous episodes of domestic violence and threatening behaviour by the defendant.

Further aggravating features included the violence of the crime, the fake account of what had happened, interference with the crime scene, and the fact that she was murdered in her own home.

In terms of mitigating factors, it was noted that the guilty plea had been voluntarily made, and it was argued that there was a lack of pre-meditation. The defence also claimed that the defendant had suffered neglect as a child, and that he had shown remorse after the crime, especially because he appeared to be suicidal when he was arrested.

The defence argued that the sex act story was a “pernicious lie” for which the defendant had “apologised unreservedly”. It was suggested that the lie was an attempt to be “cute”, but had instead been stupid.


Ultimately, the court found that this was clearly a case where the higher starting point of 16 years was entirely appropriate. This was because of the extent of the injuries, which the court found to be “every bit as violent and prolonged as the defendant described it to his aunt”.

The court also found that although the murder was not premeditated, it was committed in the context of a violent relationship; it therefore did not come out of the blue, but was instead the culmination of a pattern of behaviour.

The lie about the circumstances of the murder was also an assault on the good name and reputation of Ms Wyrebek. The court also rejected the claim that the defendant had showed remorse, especially where it was still uncertain what really happened that night.

On these factors, the court increased the sentence by eight years, from 16 to 24 years. However, the court did recognise his voluntary guilty plea.

Taking all of this into account, the court fixed the minimum period which the defendant must serve in prison before he can be considered for release, at 20 years.

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