Date: 13 Dec 2005
Place: Priory Marina, Bedford
Kamila Garsztka was found floating in Priory Marina on 24 January 2006.
Her boyfriend was later convicted of murdering her and sentenced to 14 years but his conviction was later quashed after new evidence undermined the strength of the CCTV evidence which had been critical to the prosecution’s case. It was heard that the interpretation of the CCTV pictures had been unsatisfactory.
It was said that he had arranged to meet up with her on the evening of 12 December 2005 at the marina where they had had their first date. The prosecution produced a single grainy CCTV picture of her at the marina where she was said to have gone to meet him that was said to have shown her with her distinctive handbag. They then said that he took her handbag, which contained her phone, back to their flat where he erased messages in a bid to make it look like suicide. The prosecution claimed that he was jealous and believed Kamila Garsztka was going to leave him.
The pathologist could not determine a cause of death but ruled out drowning as there was no water in her lungs.
Her body was found by a party of canoeists on 24 January 2006.
Kamila Garsztka was from Poznan and her boyfriend was from Portugal.
They had met in 2003 but it was said that her boyfriend had later moved out and that Kamila Garsztka was secretly preparing to move to Brighton. The day before she vanished, 12 December 2005, she had taken a one-way train trip to Brighton but had been persuaded to come back by her cousin and had then spent the night with her boyfriend at his flat in Rutland Road. It was then said that the next morning, 13 December 2005, her boyfriend went to work on a noon to 8pm shift, leaving her at his flat.
At the trial the prosecution said that they had arranged to have a make or break meeting at the marina where they had had their first date and Kamila Garsztka was said to have been caught there on CCTV at 7.46pm. It was then said that her boyfriend had left work, collected his car from a mechanics and gone off to meet her and that whilst they were there something had happened to make him see red and that he had killed her. By 9pm her coat, scarf and trainers had been found by dog walkers on the riverbank.
However, her boyfriend said that the last time he had seen Kamila Garsztka was on the morning when he went off for work and the court heard that there was no evidence to show that he had been anywhere near the marina or lake at the time.
The boyfriend was convicted partly on the basis that the CCTV still image of her at the marina was said to have shown Kamila Garsztka with her handbag that she always had with her but which was later found at their flat. It was said that her boyfriend had tried to make it look like she had committed suicide and as such kept her bag and phone to make it look like she had left them behind. It was also said that he had erased messages from her phone.
The CCTV image was grainy but when her father saw it he said that he was emphatic that it was her. However, the strength of the CCTV still was later undermined by new evidence which led to the boyfriend’s conviction being quashed. The still was examined by experts in the United Kingdom and the United States and it was concluded that what was thought to have been her bag was really a shadow on the film.
It was also said that after Kamila Garsztka's body was found her boyfriend had gone to the marina to throw roses into the water; however, it was said that he hadn't gone to the place where her body had been found but to the place where her trainers had been found, even though that information had not been made public at the time.
Kamila Garsztka's boyfriend later sued the Bedfordshire Police for libel and won £125k in damages after he said that a statement that they had made implied that he had escaped justice.