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Andrezej Kunowski: The Little Doctor

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By David Krajicek

Caught in the Act


"It's Daddy! Open up!"
Trajce Konev stood knocking at the locked door of his home in the London suburb of Hammersmith.
His 12-year-old daughter, Katerina, was home alone. He couldn't understand why she didn't answer.
It was May 22, 1997, two years after Konev, a Macedonian, had arrived in England with his family as
refugees from the ethnic war in the Balkans.

Hammersmith, London
They were all learning English togetherwife Zaklina; son Christian, 6, and daughter Katerina, a
lovely and lively adolescent with long, sable-colored hair, a bright smile and eyes the color of
mahogany.
Konev was studying at a local college and had been delayed by an exam.
"I raced home fast on my bicycle, because it was the first time my daughter was alone in the house
after school," he would later explain. "I expected everything to be all right."
But it was not all right. She wasn't answering.

Katerina Koneva
"At first I thought, 'Katerina may be changing her clothes,' and waited a few seconds," he said.
Konev peered through the keyhole and saw Katerina's school bag on the floor. He then dropped to his
knees and looked under the door.
"I saw two men's black shoes," he said. "I was shocked. I knew she was there ... I knew something was
wrong."
Konev banged his shoulder into the door to no effect, so he ran around the house just in time to find
a strange man climbing out a window.
"We came face to face," Konev said. "I noticed one small drop of blood on the left side of his face...He
was staring at me. I asked him, 'What are you doing in my house?' He was just so calm. He didn't say
anything. He just looked at me and ran away. I went after him."

"Help Me!"
Konev chased the intruder for a few blocks, but the man managed to turn the tables by hollering for
help just as Konev had him in his clutches.
Two workmen interceded and ordered Konev to back off.
The attacker ran on and jumped in front of a Fiat. The driver, Christina Kearney, said he hollered,
"Help me, help me, call the police!"
He suddenly brandished a knife, ordered Kearney out of the car and sped off.
Meanwhile, instead of trying to explain the situation to the workmen with his limited English, Konev
ran back home, pausing to ring a police alarm.
He broke through a chair barricading the door and found young Katerina unconscious on the floor.

Katerina Koneva
She had been choked with a piece of cord cut from a Virgin Atlantic flight bag that Katerina used to
tote her books.
The garrote was so taut that Konev could not release it with his hands. He got a knife and cut the cord
from his daughter's throat.
"I started to cry and shout her name 'Katerina! Katerina!'" Konev said.
A policeman arrived and tried to revive the girl. It was futile. She was beyond saving.

Case Goes Cold

Trajce Koneva
In a cruel twist, Trajce Konev became the initial suspect in the murder.
Police doubted his story about chasing off an attacker, and he was ordered confined while detectives
investigated. Zaklina Konev arrived at the police station to find Trajce behind bars wearing a prisoner's
overalls.
She jumped to conclusions perhaps understandably.
"What have you done to our little girl?" Zaklina demanded.
"I remember just banging my head from wall to wall in my cell," Trajce Konev later said. "I couldn't
believe what was happening. They must have thought I was a madman. They thought I had killed my
Katerina."

Kunowski running
He was quickly cleared on evidence that included the eyewitness accounts, a security camera
videotape that showed him chasing the suspect, and fingerprints found on the window the attacker had
climbed through.
Police found another clue that would prove crucial: A single strange hair on Katerina's sweater.
The investigation revealed that the same man who killed Katerina had earlier stalked three other
adolescents in Hammersmith. Each girl had long, dark hair, like Katerina.
Detectives surmised he followed the girl home, made sure she was alone, then knocked. Katerina
opened the door, probably assuming it was her father.
It seemed a simple crime to solve, with both forensic and eyewitness evidence. But the investigation
went nowhere.
The killer seemed to have disappeared amid the 7 million people of London.
But he was hiding in plain sight and, in fact, had been in and out of police custody within a month of
the murder.
Forensic evidence alone cannot bring criminals to justice. Competent investigators use the evidence as
to solve crimes.
Unfortunately for Katerina Konev's loved ones, competence went lacking in this case, despite the
sterling reputation of London's Metropolitan Police.
But the murderer was accustomed to law enforcement incompetence. He had benefited from bungling
bureaucrats from one end of Europe to the other.
The killer would prove to be a native of Poland named Andrezej Kunowski, whose career as a rapist
would span 30 years.

Mama's Boy

Andrezej Kunowski at 17
Kunowski was born Andrezej Klembert in Warsaw in 1956, just after the signing of the Warsaw Pact
enshrouded Poland behind the Iron Curtain.
He was the only child of parents of questionable character; they stole anything they could get their
hands on. As a result, Kunowski had a troubled boyhood, according to Dan Newling of London's Daily
Mail newspaper.

Logo: London Daily Mail


At age 2, he was sent off to an orphanage because his mother, father and maternal grandmother were
all in prison. To boot, his grandfather was locked up in a state psychiatric hospital for unspecified
sexual offenses.
When Elzbieta Klembert was released, she reclaimed her son, divorced her husband, and married a
cement mason, Stephan Kunowski.
The family settled in Mlawa, a gritty city of 30,000 in the Polish lowlands 80 miles north of Warsaw
that was known for producing shoes, milk and meat.
Mlawa had a troubling history.

Map of Poland with Mlawa and Warsaw indicators


During World War II, as many as 7,000 Jews from Mlawa were exterminated. When a handful of
Jewish survivors limped home in 1946, they were aghast to find that Mlawa's Poles had excavated
graves in the Jewish cemetery and removed gold teeth, jewelry and other valuables from the corpses,
which were then left to rot in piles.
The hatred of Jews was so intense there that a memorial to Holocaust victims in Mlawa was destroyed
by Poles again and again after the war. And ethnic hostility persists. In 1991, Mlawa's men launched a
pogrom against Gypsies in the city.
Growing up in Mlawa in the 1960s, young Andrezej was viewed as a mama's boy. And when other
children teased him, Kunowski reacted with a ferocity that seemed out of proportion to the insult.
He was a small child with mighty fists. During fights, Andrezej would throttle his foes with a bearclaw grip until they cried uncle.
He also developed a habit of ogling pretty girls with a frightening glint in his eye, as though in a
trance. Elzbieta expressed concerned that her son seemed unable to recall these episodes of fighting or
inappropriate staring.
Andrezej also began to steal as his teen years arrived. Perhaps it was genetic. In any case, at age 13 he
was packed away to a facility for delinquent juveniles, where his various problems were allowed to
fester.

The Little Doctor


Andrezej Kunowski began attacking girls and women soon after he was released from juvenile
detention.
From the outset, he seemed to be the most frightening type of sexual predator. His attacks did not stem
from an occasional random impulse. They were compulsive, coming in clusters.
Most of his victims were in their teens and early 20s. The oldest victim was 41, although most of his
more mature targets seemed younger than their actual age. He assaulted at least three 11-year-olds.

His standard MO was to stalk a pretty adolescent girl after school. If she was a latchkey child without
after-school supervision, he would break in and attack her.
In other cases, victims were dragged off into bushes or remote fields.
Kunowski's attacks were based on sheer strength. He was a brute, not a suave seducer, in the manner
of, say, American serial killer Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy
He certainly did not have Bundy's good looks. Kunowski was balding, round and just 5-foot-4. He
often wore a toupee and elevator heels to try to disguise his shortcomings.
The Daily Mail's Newley reported that Kunowski dressed himself fastidiously, with shirts carefully
tucked in and shoes shined to a high gloss. He doused himself in cologne.
Kunowski had an oddly formal, Old World demeanor, bowing and clicking his heels when making a
new acquaintance. His nickname was "maly doktor"the Little Doctor.

Numbing Attacks
Kunowski wasn't a clever criminal. But he didn't need to be smart, as his rap sheet and prison record
display.
His first reported rape came in June 1973, when he accosted a neighbor girl in Mlawa. He dragged her
into the bushes and forced himself on her. The victim was acquainted with Kunowski and readily
identified him as her attacker.
Two other teenagers stepped forward to accuse him in similar attacks, but he was prosecuted for just
the one case and sent to prison for three years.
On July 16, 1977, a month after his parole, he struck again, attacking a girlish-looking 24-year-old. He
choked the woman until she lost consciousness and likely would have killed her had witnesses not
intervened.
He spent less than nine months in jail after that attack, then went on a violent tear, traveling back and
forth between Mlawa and Warsaw to find victims.
On April 12, 1978, he attempted to rape a 22-year-old woman who fought him off. Later the same day,
he succeeded in raping a 27-year-old.
On June 23, he robbed and raped a 22-year-old woman, dragging her into bushes. Eight days later he
raped a 16-year-old, followed by the rape of a 12-year-old on July 21.

Kunowski's violent urges seem to ramp after those attacks. Most of his rapes after July 1978 involved
choking. He often left his victims unconsciousness, although none died.
Experts recognize choking and strangulation as a singular form of criminal pathology. It is considered
the most intimate variety of assault or murder more personal and hands-on than the use of a gun or
a knife. And it gives the assailant an unparalleled sense of domination and control.
On Aug. 4, Kunowski choked and raped a 19-year-old, then pulled identical crimes against a 22-yearold a week later; a 20-year-old on Sept. 6; a 17-year-old just two days later, and another 17-year-old on
Sept. 20.
In October 1978, he raped, robbed and choked at least four women in one weekages 17, 20, 28 and
30. He accosted four more women and girls in November, ages 19, 21, 15 and 11the latter his
youngest victim yet.
He raped and choked a 16-year-old on Dec. 14, then victimized another 11-year-old three days before
Christmas.
On Jan. 25, 1979, Kunowski stole a car that he used for a rampage of sexual violence the next day.
One Jan. 26, he robbed and attempted to strangle a 41-year-old woman; robbed and groped a 36-yearold woman, then raped, robbed and choked a 20-year-old woman.

Brief Jail Stay


At long last, Polish police caught up with him and returned him to jail. But his sexual assaults
continued even there.
On Feb. 24, he forced a male cellmate to perform oral sex, then raped another cellmate on March 1.
It seemed remarkable enough that Polish authorities had failed to suspect and arrest Kunowski, a
twice-convicted rapist, during his string of assaults. But the country's criminal justice incompetence
was merely beginning.
Kunowski somehow escaped from Polish prison on April 25, 1979. Six weeks later, he raped a 13year-old girl he followed home from school.
He was arrested the next day and returned to prison but escaped yet again that August. He committed
more attacks before he was rearrested.

Andrezej Kunowski
Finally, he faced justice for his long list of crimes, which included 17 sexual assaults and eight
attempted rapes.
The prosecutor, Waldemar Smarzewski, sought a long sentence, recognizing that Kunowski had little
chance of reform.
"There were about 70 charges, made up of rapes, attempted rapes, lechery with children, endangering a
child's life and attempted murder," Smarzewski told the Daily Mail. "This was a very important and
dangerous case because of the number of victims and what he did to them. I wanted to put him away
for longer because he was very dangerous. I was sure that if he left prison, he would go back to rape
and maybe even kill."
Kunowski was sentenced to a total of 30 years. Finally, it seemed that Polish women and children
would be saved from him.
But revolution interceded.
When the Communist regime was routed in Poland in 1989, the opening of prison doors became
fashionable.
Andrezej Kunowski was one of those who benefited. He was freed for good behavior in 1991, after
serving less than six years for attacking 23 women and girls and two men.
After his release, Kunowski married and fathered a daughter. He found work as a cosmetics salesman,
and he seemed to reform for most of a year.
But as always, his compulsion got the best of him.

He Walks Again
On Aug. 12, 1992, he raped another 11-year-old girl in Mlawa, then moved to Warsaw, where he raped
two more adolescents. He was arrested in 1993, but escaped prison yet again and was on the lam for
two years.
In March 1995, the Little Doctor is believed to have abducted Agnieszka Grzybicka, 14, who
disappeared while walking home from school in Mlawa.

Agnieszka Grzybicka

Two months later, he was arrested in Warsaw in connection with two attacks that occurred on
consecutive days both against adolescent girls who, like young Agnieszka, were followed home
from school.
As he awaited trial, Kunowski began filing medical complaints about persistent pain in his left hip. Xrays showed no problem, but doctors finally acquiesced in his insistence that he be scheduled for hipreplacement surgery.
Perhaps no one was more stunned than Kunowski when, in June 1996, Polish authorities announced
that he would be freed on a medical furlough to await the operation.
It turned out Kunowski's hip was not bad enough to deter him from running from justice.

The Strait of Dover


He sold his apartment and used the profits to buy a fake Polish passport. He then boarded a bus in
Warsaw and was waved through border security checks across northern Europe, through Germany and
Belgium and into Calais, France, where he boarded a ferry that crossed the Strait of Dover to England.
On Oct. 15, 1996, he arrived by bus at London's Victoria Coach Station on Buckingham Palace Road.
No one would have noticed him.
Each day, more than 300,000 people pass through Victoria, a bustling amalgam of bus, train and
Underground stations.
Then as now, Polish nationals poured into London each day on tourist visas to look for work.
Kunowski blended right in.

Victoria Coach Station, London


When Polish authorities realized that Kunowski had left, they issued an international warrant through
Interpol. His photograph and fingerprints were made available via Interpol's crime database to its 125
member countries the United Kingdom among them.
But Kunowski was not fingerprinted when he arrived in the United Kingdom, so British authorities had
no way of knowing that a notorious sex fiend had arrived there.
He had a clean slate to find new victims in a fresh country.

Medical Benefits
The attack on Katerina Konev, 219 days after Kunowski arrived in England, had not gone as he
planned.
First, Kunowski had been interrupted by the arrival of the child's father. The Little Doctor had to abort
the assault before reaching the sick sexual gratification he got from throttling children.
And the close contact with witnesses including Trajce Konev, the two workmen, and Christina
Kearney, owner of the hijacked car placed him at peril of being identified.

Andrezej Kunowski
He lived in Acton, just a few miles from the scene of the crime in Hammersmith. He assumed
incorrectly that these clues might soon lead Scotland Yard's finest to the door of his flat.

Patch: New Scotland Yard


He decided to get out of town.
The day after the murder, Kunowski gave up his room in Acton and fled to the countryside, taking a
job at a strawberry farm in Ledbury, west of London.
But stealing, his genetic Achilles heel, cost him the job after just a month.
The Birmingham Sunday Mercury said he was accused of filching cash from the office at Siddington
Farms.
"He was a bit of a strange one a loner, I suppose," said farm manager Glyn Lewis. "We had
hundreds of different workers on the farm, but he always stuck out in my mind."
He was arrested for theft, but Britain dropped that charge and focused on deportation when it learned
that he was in the country illegally. After first claiming Portuguese citizenship, Kunowski admitted he
was a Pole.
He had one last gambit: Kunowski applied for asylum under an economic hardship. While his
application was being considered, he was allowed to walk free, once again.
His petition was denied in the fall of 1997. But by then, Kunowski had gotten lost in London.
He hadn't even been fingerprinted after his arrest, let alone subjected to a DNA swabbing.

Tragic Bungling
In 1998, British immigration authorities received a letter from Kunowski saying that he had returned to
Poland. It was postmarked from Poland, but likely had been sent by Kunowski's mother.
Immigration officials continued to list Kunowski as "missing," although there was no active attempt to
find him.
It couldn't have been too difficult. The Little Doctor likely never left London.
The evidence was at hand in automobile and apartment rental records. He owned a Renault automobile
that he kept registered and insured. And his mother traveled from Poland to visit him in his Acton
apartment at least three times in the late 1990s.
In 2001, British taxpayers treated the wanted illegal immigrant to heart bypass at Hammersmith
Hospital, located a block from the apartment where he strangled Katerina Konev.

In July 2002, Kunowski was arrested for collecting welfare benefits under the name Jose Marco da
Dias. But again he was released before anyone made a connection to the Konev killing or his history as
a sexual predator in Poland.

Conviction & Sentence


Another crime finally brought him down.
On Sept. 22, 2002, Kunowski was loitering in the London Underground station at Ealing Broadway,
probably looking for potential victims.
He spotted a young woman, a recent arrival from Korea who looked younger than her 21 years.
Kunowski moved close enough to see that she was looking at advertisements of rooms for rent.
He struck up a conversation with the woman, whose English was even more halting than his.

Andrezej Kunowski
Kunowski explained that he could help her find a cheap room at his boarding house in Acton, and she
agreed to accompany him there.
Once inside his room, Kunowski attacked. He tied the woman up and subjected her to a brutal threehour rape.
She said he choked her until she nearly passed out. She talked her way to freedom by promising to
phone Kunowski the next day to schedule another visit.
As noted, he wasn't a clever criminal.
Instead, the victim went to police, and Kunowski was arrested and charged with rape.
At trial in May 2003 at London's Old Bailey, Kunowski claimed the sex was consensual a "thank
you" because he helped her find a place to stay.

London's Old Bailey


The judge dismissed his alibi as absurd, and Kunowski was convicted and sentenced to nine years.
But even then, the British had no reason to believe that Kunowski was a serial rapist and murderer.
Only after the conviction did the extent of his predation and the government bungling that allowed
him to attack again and again become clear.

DNA Finally Shared


After he was sent to prison, Kunowski's identity and DNA profile were shared with other countries via
the Interpol database.
Through that data, Polish authorities realized that the British convict was the serial rapist who had
absconded while on medical furlough.
Scotland Yard compared its DNA sample from Kunowski with DNA from swab evidence taken after
the 1995 rape of one of the adolescent girls in Warsaw. It matched.
The match prompted British police to begin looking at unsolved attacks on adolescent girls there.
Within days, both DNA and fingerprint evidence linked Andrezej Kunowski, at long last, to the murder
of Katerina Konev.
He was charged in that case on July 29, 2003.
Kunowski claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
But the damning physical evidence was coupled with eyewitness testimony from Trajce Konev, the
victim of the auto theft and others.
A jury of eight men and four women took less than three hours to render a guilty verdict even
though jurors were denied access to information about Kunowski's long history of attacks.
The British press, too, learned only at trial's end the extent of his history of rape and the government
bungles.

As Detective Chief Inspector David Little put it, "He is probably the most dangerous sex offender I
have ever come across and certainly the most prolific."
The press gave the Little Doctor a new nickname: the Beast of Poland.
Judge Peter Beaumont handed down the maximum sentence of life in prison.

Judge Peter Beaumont


"I would be failing in my duty, in the light of the evidence about your behavior both in Poland and this
country," Beaumont said, "if I did not ensure you spend the rest of your life in prison. ...You took the
life of a child who was just beginning to enjoy what this country had to offer her and her family as
refugees from hardship abroad. It was a life of great promise. You ended it in circumstances of great
violence and terror."

"Matter of Concern"
The British Home Office admitted it was a "matter of concern" that Kunowski had not been unmasked
as a wanted man years before.
Asylum-seekers are now fingerprinted and scrutinized through Interpol, although British law still does
not mandate DNA testing of illegal immigrants.
But Inspector Little defended the British criminal justice system.
He said Kunowski managed to slip through the cracks because he was, as an illegal alien, invisible to
the British criminal justice system.
"If the person doesn't exist," he said, "you can't bring him to justice.'
Little said Kunowski has now been scrutinized in connection with numerous other unsolved rapes and
murders of women.
And although he has not been definitively linked to any additional cases, Little said Kunowski's
criminal history leaves not doubt that he was likely responsible for many other sex crimes during his
time in Britain.
"When he wasn't incarcerated, he was committing offenses," Little said.

Reaction from Poland


The Polish government has said that it would like to prosecute Kunowski should he ever be freed in
Britain.

But it is unlikely the U.K. would turn him over to the country that bungled his incarceration and
prosecution so many times.
"I knew he would strike again," said Waldemar Smarzewski, the Polish prosecutor. "He should remain
behind bars for the rest of his life. I am sorry this psychopath ever came to Britain."
His mother, Elzbieta Kunowski, defended her son in an interview with the Daily Mail.
"He is ill, not evil," she said. "He needs proper medical and psychological care. ... He is my son and I
love him."
She said they talk often by phone, and her son always praises the British penal system's good food and
good medical care.

If his left hip is getting achy, he hadn't mentioned it Lives


Ruined

Zaklina Konev
The murder of Katerina Konev left her family devastated and embittered.
In a statement at Kunowski's sentencing, Zaklina Konev said, "I find it impossible to understand how
he was allowed into the UK to commit this crime. ... I hope that this evil murderer burns in hell.
Knowing he is in prison is not enough for me. I hope he suffers every minute of the rest of his life."
The child's parents split up in 2000, four years after the murder.
Trajce Konev said they could not overcome the barrier created when his wife, seeing him in jail,
accused him of murdering their daughter.

Katerina Koneva
"I had lost my little girl, but my wife was attacking me, and my 6-year-old son was looking up at me
with hate in his eyes," he told reporters.

"Things were never the same. The anger and hate afterwards was unbearable," he said. "I would argue
all the time with my wife. It was small things that would set us off anything which reminded us of
the pain of losing Katerina. I frequently told my wife I hated her. It was awful. I felt like I had gone
mad with grief ... Finally we could take no more of each other and we split up."
Konev, a Web site designer, said he attempted suicide but has resolved to live for the sake of his son,
now a teenager.
Zaklina Konev says grief hangs like a dark cloud over their lives.
She said she buys gifts for her daughter at Christmastime, and she carries on imaginary conversations
with the dead child.
"I talk to her every day," she said. "We say goodnight to our children, don't we? So I always say
goodnight to my daughter."
The child's father, meanwhile, said he drew solace from Kunowski's conviction.
"I had finally beaten the devil," said Trajce Konev. "I knew this man could never again do to anyone
else what he had done to my angel."

Lives Ruined

Zaklina Konev
The murder of Katerina Konev left her family devastated and embittered.
In a statement at Kunowski's sentencing, Zaklina Konev said, "I find it impossible to understand how
he was allowed into the UK to commit this crime. ... I hope that this evil murderer burns in hell.
Knowing he is in prison is not enough for me. I hope he suffers every minute of the rest of his life."
The child's parents split up in 2000, four years after the murder.
Trajce Konev said they could not overcome the barrier created when his wife, seeing him in jail,
accused him of murdering their daughter.

Katerina Koneva
"I had lost my little girl, but my wife was attacking me, and my 6-year-old son was looking up at me
with hate in his eyes," he told reporters.
"Things were never the same. The anger and hate afterwards was unbearable," he said. "I would argue
all the time with my wife. It was small things that would set us off anything which reminded us of
the pain of losing Katerina. I frequently told my wife I hated her. It was awful. I felt like I had gone
mad with grief ... Finally we could take no more of each other and we split up."
Konev, a Web site designer, said he attempted suicide but has resolved to live for the sake of his son,
now a teenager.
Zaklina Konev says grief hangs like a dark cloud over their lives.
She said she buys gifts for her daughter at Christmastime, and she carries on imaginary conversations
with the dead child.
"I talk to her every day," she said. "We say goodnight to our children, don't we? So I always say
goodnight to my daughter."
The child's father, meanwhile, said he drew solace from Kunowski's conviction.
"I had finally beaten the devil," said Trajce Konev. "I knew this man could never again do to anyone
else what he had done to my angel."

Resources
"Bedsit Rapist Jailed," by Ushma Mistry, Ealing Times, continued...
May 15, 2003
"My Daughter's Strangler," by Don Mackay, London Mirror, March 17, 2004
"My Car-Hijack Terror," by Don Mackay, London Mirror, March 18, 2004
"Rapist Murdered Girl in Her Home," BBC News, March 31, 2004
"Mother's Anger at Daughter's Killer, BBC News, March 31, 2004
"Polish Link Solves Girl's Murder," BBC News, March 31, 2004
"Katerina: A Father's Tale," by Jeremy Britton, BBC News Online, March 31, 2004
"Scandal," by Paul Cheston, London Evening Standard, March 31, 2004
"Killer and His Trail of Sex Crimes in Britain and Poland," by Paul Cheston, London Evening
Standard, March 31, 2004
"Migrant's Trail of Rape and Murder," by Stephen Wright, London Daily Mail, April 1, 2004
"Kunowski File: 30 Years of Sex Crimes," London Mirror, April 1, 2004

"Polish Paedophile Jailed for Killing Girl While on the Run," by Matthew Beard, London Independent,
April 1, 2004
"Rapist Who Fled to UK Murdered Girl, 12," by Sam Jones, The Guardian, April 1, 2004
"Psychopath Was Given Heart Bypass on the NHS," by Dan Newling, London Daily Mail, April 1,
2004
"Milly Police to Quiz Man Jailed for Sex Murder," by Angus Howarth, The Scotsman, April 1, 2004
"Judge Says Sex Killer 'Must Never Be Freed,'" Newcastle Journal, April 1, 2004
"Beast of Poland's Secret Life in the Midlands," by Fionnuala Bourke, Birmingham Sunday Mercury,
April 4, 2004