16 November 2012
A man has today, 16 November, has been sentenced to life
imprisonment to serve at least 26 years, following the brutal
murder of a vulnerable pensioner and a burglary at his family
jewellery store in Bury St Edmunds.
He will also serve a sentence of four years and eight months to
run concurrently for burglary.
Pytor Melanuik (also known as Ireneusz Melanuik) received
sentencing today at Ipswich Crown Court after earlier pleading
guilty to the murder of 66-year-old Peter Avis and domestic
Suffolk Police were called by a member of the public at around
9.10 am on Friday 13th January 2012 to a property in Abbeygate
Street, Bury St Edmunds following concerns for the occupant at the
Once the property was entered the body of Peter Avis was found
in a first floor flat and it was discovered that the flat and
jewellery store below - ‘Collis & Son’ - had been burgled.
A post mortem examination found that Mr Avis had died from
multiple stab wounds and had suffered serious head injuries.
Large quantities of jewellery, watches, cutlery, silverware and
ornaments had been stolen from the store.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team (MIT) took on
the investigation into the murder of Mr Avis, which resulted from
Initial enquiries were conducted by a team of around 40 officers
from the MIT and local officers with the assistance of officers
from the Metropolitan Police, Sussex and Hertfordshire. As the
investigation developed Polish law enforcement agencies also
assisted to help detain one of the main offenders, Melanuik, who
later pleaded guilty to the murder of Peter Avis.
CCTV images were obtained from Bury St Edmunds, London and
numerous routes in between. Forensic examination of the scene and
other locations were undertaken over a number of weeks to find
vital evidence to help convict those involved. Over 720 statements
On 13th January 2012, a member of the public, who had seen
someone acting suspiciously in a Honda car in the Haringey area of
London, contacted the Metropolitan Police. Pawel Pacian, a
34-year-old unemployed man from Lake Avenue in Bury St Edmunds was
stopped by the officers and found to be in possession of a quantity
of jewellery items. He was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers
who contacted Suffolk Constabulary and subsequently the link to the
burglary was established.
On 17th January Pacian was charged with conspiracy to commit
burglary. Pacian pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods at a court
hearing held on the 4th September 2012.
A second man, 31-year-old car salesman, Pawel Borowiecki from
Roslyn Road in London was arrested in London on 15th January on
suspicion of murder, he was charged with conspiracy to commit
burglary on 18th January.
On 25th January 2012, following extensive enquiries carried out
by the Major Investigation Team Ireneusz Melanuik was posted as
wanted for questioning in relation to the murder of Peter Avis.
Melanuik’s photographs were publicised on posters produced in
English and Polish and distributed both locally and around the
country where it was understood Melanuik had connections. Suffolk
Constabulary in conjunction with Crimestoppers also offered a £5000
reward for information leading to his arrest and charge.
On the same day 21-year-old unemployed man Kamil Kita, of no
fixed abode, who had been arrested on 23rd January in London, was
charged with the murder of Peter Avis. Kita pleaded guilty to an
offence of burglary on 4th September.
On 17th February Ireneusz Melanuik was detained in Poland
following close liaison with Polish law enforcement agencies.
Aleksandra Karpiuk, a 27-year-old security employee from Lake
Avenue, Bury St Edmunds was charged with conspiracy to commit a
burglary between 1st December 2011 and 13th January 2012 on 23rd
Ireneusz Melanuik returned to the UK on 3rd July 2012 under a
European Arrest Warrant, he appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court
on 4th July charged with murder.
Melanuik pleaded guilty to murder and domestic burglary at a
plea and case management hearing on 13th August 2012.
Having pleaded not guilty to their charges, Pawel Borowiecki and
Aleksandra Karpiuk stood trial at Ipswich Crown Court week
commencing 24th September 2012. Following a two-week trial, on the
9th October the jury found Borowiecki guilty of conspiracy to
burgle and Karpiuk guilty of conspiracy to burgle and assisting
The sentencing today follows an earlier sentencing hearing held
on Thursday 1 November for the four other defendants, where the
Judge at Ipswich Crown Court issued the following sentences:
Pawel Pacian – 18 months for handling stolen goods.
Kamil Kita – Three years for burglary.
Pawel Borowiecki - Five years for conspiracy to burgle.
Aleksandra Karpiuk – Four years, two years for conspiracy to
burgle and two years for assisting offenders.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Luckett from the Norfolk and
Suffolk Major Investigation Team who lead the enquiry said: “This
was a particularly brutal crime against a vulnerable, elderly man.
Peter Avis was a very private man who lived alone and had been
involved with his jewellery business for many years. This was a
pre-planned attack intending to steal valuable property from a
defenceless victim. His murder as part of that burglary was
“This was a fast moving, intensive and complex enquiry where an
organised criminal gang, controlled by Borowiecki, travelled from
London to commit this crime, there is no doubt they were assisted
by information provided locally by Karpiuk. Melanuik murdered Mr
Avis by beating him about the head and then stabbing him several
times. Kita was a willing accomplice in the burglary.
“After committing this offence Melanuik went on the run,
regularly moving between locations in London and Brighton and
infrequently using associates telephones. As part of an intensive
‘manhunt’ the investigation carried out over 20 searches of
premises in an effort to apprehend him. He eventually left the
country and, whilst it is not clear how he achieved this, it is
very likely that this was not through legitimate channels.
“We had significant help from other forces during this enquiry,
particularly the Met, Sussex and Hertfordshire. We also had
considerable help from the Polish community living in London, where
many of our enquiries lead to, and from law enforcement agencies in
Poland where Melanuik was eventually detained on 17th February– I
am extremely grateful to all involved.
“On a personal note, I would like to thank the investigation and
prosecution teams who worked on this case. Their tireless efforts
ensured those responsible were brought to justice. The
investigating team took over 700 statements, undertook extensive
forensic examination of properties in Suffolk and London and
trawled through over 600 hours of CCTV footage seized locally, from
Stansted Airport, the London area and routes in between. All of
this detailed work ensured the guilty pleas and verdicts.
“My thoughts are with Peter Avis’ family and friends at the
conclusion of this trial as this has been a very difficult time for
them. Like many who have been involved in this case they cannot
understand why Peter Avis was murdered as he posed no threat to
Statement from Peter Avis' family: "Today justice is seen to be
done, and the family of Peter Avis can finally come to terms with
his dreadful and untimely death.
"The police have been hugely supportive throughout the last 9 ½
months. The family are extremely grateful for their kind and
"It is sincerely hoped that the UK Border Agency will in future
tighten up the controls to prevent such dangerous criminals
entering this country."