When Iwona Wyrebek moved her young family from Poland to Belfast in 2014, she hoped for a better life.
Her stepdaughter Patricia, a quiet and studious girl, attended Mercy College, not far from her family’s home in Ardoyne in north Belfast.
Patricia’s younger sister Maya was a student at the Exaltation of the Cross Primary School for Girls.
The family quickly integrated into society, while remaining close to their Polish roots.
After finishing school, Patricia moved to Newry, which has a significant Polish community.
She was still proud of her language and culture and at the age of 20 was still figuring out her place in the world.
Friends say that she was a shy girl who did not like big companies, so dating her boyfriends was never easy. They also say she never said why she moved to Northern Ireland and, like many young women her age, was just trying to figure out what the future held for her.
When she met David Lukas Mietus after moving to Newry, she was at first smitten with him. The couple went from dating to living with each other very quickly.
Mietus only moved to Northern Ireland in February 2019. He met Patricia in December of that year. She moved into his house a month after meeting him.
Mietus was instantly possessive and jealous, and Patricia was cut off from the support of her stepmother and sister, who still lived in Belfast.
With a lean build and soft-spoken conversations with a few friends, she became even more isolated during the relationship.
Mietus was the classic aggressor, loyal to Patricia one minute and brutal and coercive the next. For someone as inexperienced in relationships as she is, it would be difficult to escape from a relationship.
He later claimed that he was subjected to domestic abuse as a child in Poland as a mitigation for his actions, but evidence showed that he was a jealous and possessive person.
On the night of the murder, Mietus severely beat and then strangled his young partner sometime after midnight.
He stayed in the house with her body all night, trying to clean up the evidence.
The next morning he rode his bicycle to his aunt’s house and said, “I killed her.”
Noticing that her nephew’s shoes were stained with blood, she sent her partner to Mietus’ house to check what had happened, where he found Ms. Vyrebek’s body lying in an empty bathtub.
The police were called and when they arrived at 8:20 am they were immediately greeted with signs of a violent attack.
The bedroom was heavily stained with blood, and from where the killer was trying to remove the evidence, there was a strong smell of bleach.
Mietus was the first to flee the scene, and was witnessed walking through the gardens armed with a knife. Residents were asked to stay in their homes.
He also threatened to harm himself. He was discovered in a neighbor’s garden behind an oil tank and arrested on suspicion of murder around noon on August 2, 2020.
He continued to give several conflicting accounts of what had happened, all of which aimed to downplay his own actions, all of which caused further distress to Patricia’s family.
Despite evidence to the contrary, he tried to use a fake “rough sex” defense, claiming that he and his victim had a common interest in erotic asphyxia and that she accidentally died during consensual sex.
At an earlier hearing, it was stated that her murder was a “completely accidental, tragic accident”.
He claimed that a quiet young woman who, according to friends, rarely spoke, introduced him to the practice, a false claim that caused great distress to her loved ones.
The murder was far from a “tragic accident”: the walls of their joint house were spattered with blood.
Ms. Vyrebek died from “compression of the neck combined with blunt trauma to the head”.
She was beaten and then strangled to death.
Earlier this month, Mietus finally admitted he lied.
His defense argued that before killing her, he and his girlfriend went over former partners. On probation, he said he punched her, then grabbed her by the throat and squeezed until she stopped moving.
His change of statement could have been motivated by overwhelming evidence against him or, more likely, by a change in the law in March of this year. The Justice (Sexual Offenses and Victims of Trafficking) Bill passed its final stages before the dissolution of the Assembly. He abolished what is known as the “rough sex” defense.
The high-profile case of British tourist Grace Millane has drawn worldwide attention to the defense of so-called “rough sex”.
In November 2019, Jessie Kempson, who strangled a British tourist and hid her body in a suitcase, was found guilty of murder after a trial in New Zealand. His defense was that she accidentally died during “cruel sex”.
This has led to changes in legislation in many jurisdictions. Labor MP Harriet Harman said at the time that this created a situation where men could blame the woman they killed for her own death, implying “she wanted violence”.
During pre-sentencing hearings earlier this month, defense attorney Patrick Little apologized on behalf of Mietus for the use of the defense, saying: “This is a complete and utter lie and on behalf of my client, I apologize for the harm and distress that would have caused the family of the deceased “.
Patricia’s life was taken, as well as that of her stepmother and sister. She never lived to reach her full potential.
After almost two years of pre-trial detention, her killer will be only 43 years old when he will be eligible for release – still a young man who has shown himself capable of great violence against a vulnerable victim, as well as sophisticated lies and deceit to hide behind. . his actions.