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Moneylender denies threatening man with gun over €70 debt

Letterkenny Courthouse.

Letterkenny Courthouse.

A MONEYLENDER has denied putting a gun to a man’s head and threatening to kill him over a €70 debt.

The trial of Miroslaw Kluczak (39) of 57 The Maples, Lismonaghan, Letterkenny, began at the local Circuit Court on Tuesday. The Polish national denies threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Legzek Majewski at 20 Celtic Apartments, Letterkenny, on April 4, 2013.

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He is also charged with making an unwarranted demand of money with menace from the same man on the same date.

Kluczak told the court he runs a legitimate business which involves paying for fellow Polish nationals’ shopping and then charging them for the service which includes delivery transport.

The court heard he collects the money he is owed outside the local post office in Letterkenny, on the days his debtors collect their Social Welfare payments.

The defendant also told Gardai he loans cash to help mainly Polish people pay their bills.

“I am not a monster, bills are important and I am a compassionate man,” he said in his initial statement to Gardai.

He explained that this was “common practice” within the Polish community in Dublin and he felt there was a demand for a similar service in Letterkenny, and decided to set up his own business here.

Judge John O’Hagan was told that on, the day in question, Kluczak was sitting in his car outside the post office on the main street when he met Mr Majewski and his wife Barbar Gotbioska and demanded the balance of his money.

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The couple, who borrowed €225 the previous month, said they could not pay the balance of the cash as they had to send money back to their 18-year-old son in Poland for schoolbooks.

Ms Gotbioska said the defendant laughed when they told him this and that they would pay the €70 balance the following week.

The couple went to Lidl to do their shopping before returning to their apartment where, later that morning, Kluczak is alleged to have walked in and pulled a gun on Mr Legzek.

The injured party claimed the accused pulled a gun from underneath his coat and put it to his head and threatened to kill him as he sat at the kitchen table with his wife drinking coffee.

Ms Gotbioska ran out of the apartment to a nearby shop where she raised the alarm before ran off.

Mr Legzek, who used to serve in the Polish army, described the gun as “short and black with a grey handle.”

Gardai searched the defendant’s home a short-time later and found no gun. However, they found an empty box under the stairs for an air pistol.

The trial, before a jury of eight men and four women, is expected to conclude this afternoon.

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