Murder accused tells jury he’s ‘ashamed’ of killing Leeds sex worker

DECEMBER 2015: Tributes to Daria. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
DECEMBER 2015: Tributes to Daria. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

A MAN accused of murdering a sex worker in a red light area of Leeds told a jury he was “ashamed” of causing her death but not mean to kill her.

Lewis Pierre gave evidence today at a trial in which he is accused of murdering 21-year-old Polish national Daria Pionko in the Holbeck area of the city on December 22 last year.

Daria Pionko.

Daria Pionko.

Pierre has admitted manslaughter and robbery but denies the murder charge.

Pierre told the court that it was his intention to rob Daria of cash as he made his way home from his shift working as a lorry driver’s assistant.

The 24-year-old said Daria went with him to a secluded area after agreeing to have sex with him for money.

Pierre said he did not intend to have sex with her but was trying to find an opportunity to rob her.

He told the court that he punched Daria in “quick succession” to the face and head area after she began to struggle when he grabbed her handbag.

Pierre said Daria was dragged along the ground during the struggle.

He said: “I grabbed the bag and pulled it and she ended up coming with the bag and I hit her one more time.”

Pierre told the jury he took £80 from the bag before throwing it on the floor and running away.

Pierre’s barrister, Richard Wright, QC, asked his client: “As you left, as you ran away, was it within your contemplation that you might have killed her or injured her so badly that she would be hospitalised?” Pierre replied: “No.”

The jury has heard that Pierre bought a kebab and chips, cigarettes and cannabis after the attack.

Mr Wright asked Pierre: “Did you do all of those things with money that you had stolen from Daria?” He replied: “Yes.”

Mr Wright continued: “Are you proud of the way in which you spent the money?” Pierre answered: “No.”

Pierre said he did not know Daria had been killed until he was arrested on suspicion of murder on December 31.

Mr Wright asked: “How did you feel on being told - realising - that she was dead?”

Pierre replied: “Ashamed.”

The jury has heard Daria was left bloodied and battered on Springwell Road after suffering multiple injuries to her face, head, neck and body.

Daria had been living in the UK for ten months before her death.

Daria’s family did not know she was earning money through prostitution and believed she was working in a bar.

The court has heard that the killing took place in a “managed red light area” of the city.

The trial continues.