Son buried father in shallow grave at his Borehamwood home hears court
2:21pm Wednesday 11th may 2011
A SON is alleged to have killed his elderly father at their detached Borehamwood home and then buried the body in a shallow grave in the back garden.
For years, Michael Jachimowicz, 69, told neighbours that his Polish born father Hierinom, known as Henry, had returned to his native country, was living in Bristol with relatives and had even gone to Russia to visit friends, a jury heard.
It was all a lie, St Albans Crown Court was told on Friday, and, behind the greenhouse in the back garden of the family home in Furzehill Road, police discovered the remains of his frail 87-year-old father last November, buried near a water butt under some paving stones.
A note found in a plastic milk bottle on the old man’s body had the lines “Henry’s dying wish was to be buried with all the things that made his life worth living viz: his beloved wire hair fox terrier (3 buried in this garden), his wonderful bees (6 hives here) and his glorious garden of 20 fruit trees.”
the note went on: “He held me to promise that come his final day on God good earth that I would ensure his request be met.”
It continued: “I have honoured his wish. found dead in bed on Sunday 13/3/05. had a badly scarred heart from the war years.”
the letter finished by saying “All my love and lifelong respect. God be with you. Signed Michael (his only son). PS I write this with tears in my eyes.”
but, prosecutor mrs Ann Evans said the son was not carrying out his father’s dying wish.
She told the court: “The crown invites you to conclude the opposite, that this defendant caused the death of his father and dumped his body in the back garden.”
the court heard that neighbours didn’t have any kind words to say about Michael Jachimowicz’s treatment of his father.
One neighbour, Joan Potter, had called at their home in Furzehill Road shortly before Henry’s death and remembered the son pushing him.
the prosecutor said the son could be verbally aggressive towards his father.
in March 2005, just days before the elderly man’s disappearance, a district nurse working for Barnet Primary Care Trust, whose duties entailed treating elderly housebound people, had called to see him.
mrs Evans said: “She found the old man with a number of cuts on his forearms and hands, which required dressings to be applied. the son told her he had suffered a fall, but the prosecutor said the nurse thought there was a lot of broken skin to have resulted from just one fall.”
Continuing her outline of the case, mrs Evans said: “The crown says that the only sensible inference to be drawn from a clandestine careless burial in the back garden is by reason of unlawful harm that Michael caused to his father killing him in the process.”
in the dock Michael Jachimowicz pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of his father between March 11 2005 and November 10 last year.
He also denied preventing the lawful burial of a corpse by concealing the body in the back garden and three offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception.
mrs Evans said it was on November 4 last year when police officers arrived at the defendant’s home to speak to him.
She said he and his parents had lived at the house since the mid 1960′s and as far as anybody knew, he lived there with just his father since his mother had died in 1999.
but, said the prosecutor, the father had not been seen by anyone since 2005 and, as the years passed, enquires increased as to where the frail old man was, resulting in the police visit.
the court heard that the son was unhelpful and taken to Hatfield Police Station.
A search of the property and the garden began. mrs Evans added: “On November 12, his father’s remains were found carelessly covered in a makeshift grave behind the greenhouse at the back of the garden.”
over the years, the son had allegedly told neighbours his father was in Poland, had gone to stay with relatives in Bristol and was even visiting friends in Russia.
mrs Evans said: “This was a lie. his father’s remains had been in the garden for a number of years.”
She said that “in stark contrast to the shallow grave in which the father was found, care had been taken by the son when burying a dog behind the house.”
She said: “When the time came for police to find and exhume Henry’s body from the back garden, the search also revealed an elaborate grave for a dog. A hardwood coffin in one part of the garden was found to contain the remains of a dog wrapped in numerous layers of clear plastic, bubblewrap and black plastic.
“Between these layers was a bunch of cut flowers in florists packing.”
She said a forensic archaeologist called in by the police had concluded that both the dog’s grave and the “hastily assembled grave” for Henry were highly unusual in their composition and he was of the opinion they had been the work of the same person.
mrs Evans told the jury “You may well conclude that the information contained in the plastic bottle was correct, that Henry Jackimowicz had died some time after March 11 and before 15. the used by date on the milk bottle itself said March 11, so that might help pinpoint the date.”
the prosecutor said the son could say he had done nothing wrong in burying his father in the back garden, that he had died of natural causes and it was what he wanted.
She went on: “The crown says all the evidence points away from this.”
the court was told that back in 1999 Henry’s wife Jadwiga had died and the son had purchased a double plot at the Gunnersbury Cemetery.
A memorial stone for the mother had been erected and she said: “The double grade plot alongside his wife of 56 years was waiting for Henry.”
She then told the jury: “If he had died a natural death, there was no reason at all not to bury him there.”
Police later found there was an added inscription on the memorial stone showing Henry’s name and other details.
Miss Evans said “But Henry’s body wasn’t there. his death had never been registered.”
the prosecutor then told the court “Michael Jachimowicz was the sole surviving heir to his father’s estate. Financially he had much to gain from his lawful death. the house, substantial amounts of money in bank accounts and relief from what in any view must have been a considerable burden of caring for an elderly doubly incontinent parent.
“She said if Henry’s death had been a natural one, there is no reason why he should not have been buried next to his wife in the Gunnersbury Cemetery.”
but, she said, because of the lies he had told to neighbours and the Department of Works and Pensions, it meant he couldn’t change his story.
She told the jury the three offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception resulted in the son continuing to receive an attendance allowance for his father because of his poor health.
the prosecutor said he had received £4,320.
She said the defendant had also claimed pension credit on behalf of his father after his death, which amounted to more than £1,300.
A further charge concerned a pension payment of nearly £7,000 claimed on behalf of the father.
She told the jury: “So in conclusion, the crown say that you can be sure from the surrounding circumstances of this case that it was an unlawful act at the hands of this defendant that caused his father’s death. Why else bury him in a shallow grave in the back garden when he stood to inherit everything legitimately.”
the case continues.
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<a href="http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/9020628.Son_buried_father_in_shallow_grave_hears_court/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/9020628.Son_buried_father_in_shallow_grave_hears_court/Wed, 11 May 2011 13:31:29 GMT 00:00″>Son buried father in shallow grave at his Borehamwood home hears court (From Borehamwood Times)