Leeds: ‘Murder accused bought kebab after killing and robbing sex worker in red light area’ UPDATED

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

A SEX worker was subjected a “sustained and forceful” fatal attack before being robbed of cash in a managed red light area close to Leeds city centre, a jury heard.

A court heard Daria Pionko was left bloodied and battered in a secluded area of Holbeck after suffering multiple injuries to her face, head, neck and body.

The prosecution claim Lewis Pierre, 24, wore steel toecap boots to inflict injuries on the 21-year-old Polish woman.

The jury was told Pierre stole cash from Daria during the attack on December 22 last year before using it to buy himself kebab and chips.

Leeds Crown Court heard Daria had been living in the UK for ten months before her death.

Kama Melly, QC, prosecuting, said Daria’s family did not know she was earning money through prostitution and believed she was working in a bar.

Miss Melly told the jury the killing took place in a “managed red light area.”

She said: “It is an arrangement with Leeds City Council that within set hours during the nighttime, within a very specific area, that is not a residential area, that neither the sex workers nor the customers who went there for sex would be arrested.”

Pierre, of Miles Hill Street, Meanwood, Leeds, pleads not guilty to murder. The jury has been told that Pierre has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery.

The prosecutor told the jury of ten women and two men that Pierre denies intending to cause Daria’s death or cause her serious injury when he carried out the attack.

Miss Melly said: “The prosecution’s case it that Lewis Pierre murdered Daria.

“That is, the Crown say, that when he assaulted Daria it was either to kill her or inflict really serious injury.

“The prosecution say, at the very least, that Lewis Pierre meant to cause Daria really serious harm and in those circumstances he is to be convicted of murder.”

Miss Melly continued: “The prosecution are confident that his intention to cause really serious harm to Daria will be proved against Lewis Pierre by the evidence you will hear in this trial.”

The court heard Daria was found with serious injuries by her close friend on Springwell Road around 10.30pm.

The jury was told the two young women were both sex workers, lived together and described themselves as “sisters”.

The pair had met men for separately sex earlier in the evening and Daria’s friend became concerned when Daria failed to turn up at their regular meeting place.

The friend went looking looking for Daria when she failed to answer her mobile phone.

Miss Melly said Daria was found laying on a stomach in a gap between two buildings.

Daria was pronounced dead in the early hours of the next morning.

Miss Melly said it was likely that she had died within 30 minutes of being attacked.

A post mortem examination revealed she had suffered fractures to her nose and facial bones.

She also suffered bruising to her brain and deep bruising and scratches to her face and upper body.

Miss Melly said Daria’s injuries were consistent with suffering multiple blunt force injuries to her head, neck and face.

The jury was told that the scratches to Daria’s body indicated she was attacked while on the ground and injuries were “heavily suggestive” of Pierre using his feet in the attack.

Daria’s blood was later found on a pair of steel toecap boots and a cardigan found by police at Pierre’s home.

Pierre was linked to the attack from CCTV footage around the Holbeck area on the evening of the attack.

Pierre had been working as a lorry driver’s mate for a distribution firm based in Holbeck.

The court heard Pierre had arrived for work earlier in the day with no money and had completed his shift without having anything to eat or drink.

Camera footage showed Pierre entering the area where Daria was attacked shortly after he finished his shift at 10pm.

Miss Melly said: “At this stage Lewis Pierre had no money, he had set off from working, having done a full day’s shift, working hard and was extraordinarily tired, thirsty and hungry.

She added: “It is the prosecution’s case that he was determined to obtain some money that night.”

The jury was told that Pierre left the scene after the attack. He was later given a lift to a takeaway and bought a kebab and chips and drinks with money he had taken in the robbery.

He then went to a petrol station to buy cigarettes.

The trial continues

Carl DAmmassa, Group Managing Director  Business Finance, Aldermore

Aldermore supports more than £1bn of asset finance to UK businesses in 2017