An unexplained death in Clapham last year may have been a ‘targeted hit’ linked to an organised crime syndicate, as Crimestoppers offer a £10,000 reward in the hope of gaining new information.
Detectives have now launched a murder investigation after the death of 32-year-old Piotr Woroneicki, from Poland, who was found by police ‘unresponsive’ on Parma Crescent, in Clapham Junction, on Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 05.20am.
Mr Woroneicki had been last seen alive the day before at New Covent Garden Market. It is believed he had been dead for hours by the time his body was found.
The night before his death, police were called by a neighbour to reports of an attempted burglary at Piotr’s home on Clapham Common Northside.
Neighbours told police that at 11.57pm, on Wednesday November 22, 2017, two men broke into the the communal are of the house, though CCTV did not show whether they entered the victim’s flat.
At 3.23am the next day, two suspects with a set of keys tried and failed to enter the communal area of the house as the locks had been changed. Police do not know if the suspects were the same two men who broke in the day before.
On Friday, November 24, two more attempts were made to break into the building. Two men succeeded in entering the victim’s flat at 1.49am, and then returned at 7.37am to the communal area, before coming back at At 11.10pm to 11.18pm that night.
In all five break-ins and attempted break-ins, the suspects differ in descriptions and officers say they are keeping ‘an open mind’ as to whether the same, or different people, were entering the property.
Bizarrely, when officers attended the scene they found nearly £100,000 in cash in the living room and what has described as ‘a significant amount’ of Class A Drugs, all untouched – leading them to now believe that the victim may have been involved in organised crime and his murder was a ‘targeted hit’.
The victim’s death was first investigated by Wandsworth CID as an unexplained death, but a post-mortem in July of this year found he had a neck injury consistent with being held in a headlock.
The case was then moved to the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Commands and led by Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell.
DCI Cranwell said: “We have recently taken responsibility for this investigation and I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who may have known Piotr or have heard anything about his death.
“Any information that you may have could really help this case and we urge you to contact police as soon as possible.”
The team are still trying to establish a timeline of events that led to Mr Woroneicki’s death. In the course of their investigation they have confirmed that the victim left his home address at 9.16pm on the evening of November 22, 2017. He was seen with people known to him in New Covent Garden Market at 10.46pm, and last seen at the market at 11.33pm.
Piotr was then found by a member of the public at 5am in Parma Crescent, three miles from where he was last seen.
“There are about five-and-a-half hours that Piotr is unaccounted for where we don’t know who he may have met with or spoken to and it’s crucial that we fill in these missing hours to help solve his murder and convict the person or persons responsible for his death,” DCI said. “The night Piotr died there was torrential rain that some could describe as ‘biblical proportion’.
“I’m hoping that by mentioning this it might jog someone’s memory.
“Although I have said that we believe this murder is linked to organised crime, I want to assure anyone with any information that whatever you tell us will be treated with the upmost confidence.
“You will be helping to take a murderer off the streets and giving Piotr’s family and friends some closure in what has been a very tough period.”
Police have also released CCTV footage of the two suspects they want to speak to in connection with the attempted burglary.
“I’m sure that someone watching and listening to the CCTV videos will recognise their voices or maybe their mannerisms or the way they walk,” DCI Cranwell appealed.
“If you think you do know or recognise them, we’d urge you to call us as soon as possible.”
To give information and qualify for the reward, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the online form at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/