Report by Correspondent Gregg Easteal
Five Polish nationals living on Teesside have been jailed for a total of almost 50 years after admitting to playing disturbing roles in the disappearance and death of 39-year-old Tomasz Dembler.
The father-of-one was found in a shallow grave in woodland at the Flatts Lane country park on Teesside, just days after he was reported missing.
Tomasz had been brutally beaten by two people he thought were his friends at a house party in Middlesbrough in March 2021.
A court was told Tomasz was the victim of a sustained and brutal attack, while up in his bedroom, during the night at the property in Edward Street.
Rafal Chmielewski and Zbigniew Pawlowski admitted the attack and were both jailed for 16 and a half years this afternoon (8 April 2022).
Three others who were in the house that night and helped dispose of the body, were also locked up by a judge.
Monika Solerska - the girlfriend of one of the killers - was jailed for five and a half years after a judge ruled she had helped clean the crime scene and transport Tomasz’ body to the woods.
Two more also admitted to helping dispose of the body - Adam Czerwinski was jailed for five years and Tomasz Reczycki was jailed for three and a half years.
Passing sentence, a judge told the group they had acted callously and were “chillingly slick” and “ruthlessly efficient” after the killing.
The body of Tomasz, she said, was “unceremoniously dumped “ in a shallow grave and that “frighteningly” they “very nearly got away with it.”
Tomasz’ body was only discovered by chance in April 2021 when two teenagers noticed toes sticking up from the ground and alerted the police.
When officers investigated, they found the father of one was naked where he lay and his hands had been cut off at the wrist.
One of the last people to see Tomasz alive was a taxi driver who he was friendly with, who had driven him to buy a takeaway earlier that night.
Footage released by the Police shows Tomasz ordering a pizza unaware it would be his final meal.
Speaking to ITV News, the taxi driver said there was nothing to suggest his passenger was heading for trouble that night.
He described Tomasz as a funny, friendly, kind man who had helped him out financially when people were using far fewer taxis during lockdown.
Tomasz’ family have described hearing the news of his death and how his body was buried as being “like something from a horror movie”.
His brother had been left needing counselling after having to identify the remains found in the woods.
The case has been covered regularly in the news in Poland, where Tomasz came from originally.
His family say he was a warm, kind, funny, loving man who would help anyone who asked for it.
Tomasz has a young daughter in Poland who regularly sits by his grave and who was described in court as “not being the same little girl anymore”.
She is still too young the family say to be told how her father died.
In an interview with ITV News, Tomasz’ brother said he still finds it hard to accept his brother is dead and described the killers and their accomplices as behaving “like animals”.
After today’s sentencing hearing Police described the case as among the most gruesome they’ve ever investigated.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dimelow said: "This case has been extremely complex and the Homicide Major Enquiry Team has worked diligently alongside the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that the people responsible for the killing of Tomasz Dembler are behind bars.
"The team scoured CCTV and used other techniques to prove the movements of the criminals and built a strong case against them to prove that they were responsible for the killing and hiding his body.
"Tomasz’s death has had a significant impact on his family, we have provided support to them throughout the case and our thoughts remain with them."
They confirmed Tomasz’ hands have still never been found.