Dad’s body found by girls in Flatts Lane woodland with ‘hands missing’, murder trial told

The body of an alleged murder victim was discovered without both hands after being severed at the wrist, a trial has heard.

The trial of four Polish men and a Polish woman accused of murdering a dad whose body was found in a woodland beauty spot, began on Friday.

The defendants deny killing Tomasz Dembler after his remains were found near Flatts Lane Country Park, in Normanby last year.

The accused are:

  • Zbigniew Pawlowski, 41, of Leven Street, Newport, Middlesbrough
  • Rafal Chmielewski, 37, of Birchington Avenue, Grangetown
  • Tomasz Reczycki, 37, of Ashfield Avenue, Grove Hill, Middlesbrough
  • Monika Solerska, 37, of Birchington Avenue, Grangetown
  • Adam Czerwinski, 45, of Edward Street, North Ormesby

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Prosecutor Peter Makepeace QC give details of the grisly discovery as he opened the case at Teesside Crown Court.

The court heard how on Monday, April 12, 2021, two teenage girls were playing on woodland that borders Flatts Lane Park.

As the girls sat in the woodland eating a picnic, they noticed toes sticking out of the ground and called for the police.

Mr Makepeace told the court that the body was missing both hands and claimed each hand had been severed at the wrist using a sharp instrument.

Further examination found the body had been subject to repeated blunt force trauma.

READ MORE: LIVE: Dad’s body was found in Flatts Lane woodland with ‘hands severed at the wrist’

The court heard the 39-year-old Polish national had lived in the UK for some years and had been reported as missing by friends and relatives.

Mr Makepeace said in about 2019, Mr Dembler moved to Darlington, then to Middlesbrough and in the months prior to his death lifestyle had deteriorated.

The court heard there is evidence that he had started drinking to excess and taking illicit drugs.

The prosecution said on or around March 14, 2021, Mr Dembler moved to 5 Edward Street, in North Ormesby – the home of accused Adam Czerwinski.

At that address, Mr Dembler met his death shortly after moving in, he said.


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The court heard, despite his alienation from his family, Mr Dembler was active on social media sites.

Although the relationship was strained, he kept in contact with his mother in Poland several times a week.

His last message sent at 3.18am on March 20 – only hours before his death read, “leave me alone”.



Police search teams at Flatts Lane

Mr Makepeace told how Mr Dembler was “sofa surfing” around the time of his death and using drink and drugs. He had no settled employment or address.

The trial was told he was friends with one of the accused Rafal Chmielewski and became acquainted with some of the other defendants.

The jury was also shown footage of Mr Dembler’s last known movements captured on CCTV at around 9.30pm in North Ormesby, on March 21, 2021.

The trial continues

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