Mum of killed boxer claims promoter offered her £20,000 as her son lay dying in hospital
PUBLISHED: 18:06 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:21 29 October 2019
The mum of a young man killed in an unlicensed boxing match has alleged in court that the fight's promoter offered her £20,000 in cash as her son lay dying in hospital.
Jakub Moczyk, 22, known to his family and friends as Kuba, died after receiving a series of punches to the head in the third round of a bout at the Atlantis Tower Arena, Great Yarmouth, in November 2016.
Promoter Aurelijus Kerpe, 34, of Great Yarmouth, and medical provider Andrew Cowlard, 54, of Ormesby, have denied health and safety failings at the event and are standing trial at Norwich Crown Court.
On the opening day of the trial court heard how medical checks before the fight were 'slapdash' or not done at all, risk assessments were filled out just hours before the fight and medics hired at the "last minute".
Meanwhile, Jolanta Smigat, Kuba's mother, giving evidence, claimed Kerpe had come to the hospital the day after the fight and offered her up to £20,000.
The court heard how Kuba had arrived at the arena at 3pm but left, assuming it had been cancelled as there was no one to greet them.
"They were pretty sure there would be no fight," his mother added. "There was no doctor and they were concerned."
Pascal Bates, prosecuting, told the court how Kerpe, a boxer and letting agent, had never organised a boxing match before. Kerpe denies he was the organiser that night.
Kuba weighed in at around 69-73kg and had never been in a boxing match before. A pre-arranged opponent dropped out of the bout and he was paired up with a new fighter.
"He wasn't an easy match due to his slim weight and lack of experience," said Mr Bates.
He told the court paperwork including risk assessments were only filled out in the hours before the fight or "after things went wrong".
"On the afternoon of the fight no medical services had been arranged and disaster was staring [Kerpe] in the face," said Mr Bates.
"Boxers were arriving expecting medical checks. Kuba arrived at 3pm but came away thinking the event had been cancelled.
"Cancellation would have spelled disaster for Mr Kerpe. Someone, anyone, had to be found in a scramble to find anyone remotely competent."
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Coward's company LifeShield were contacted shortly before 4.30pm on the day of the fight but as he was in London working on a film set he allowed his partner, Sue Mitchelson, to stand in until he arrived, the court heard.
They did not have access to medical histories of any of the boxers, and some, including Kuba's opponent, were not checked at all.
Miss Mitchelson took blood pressure and pulses, noting them down on a scrap of A4 paper before her machine broke, the court heard.
13 boxers were recorded but only seven had blood pressure or pulse checks.
"She should have been expecting a further 15 boxers but she did not note any further names," said Mr Bates.
"Even for the boxers she saw the checks she did were pretty cursory. She had about two hours to do pre-fight checks for up to 28 boxers for whom she had no medical histories."
Kuba's bout began around 8.39pm after the previous fights had come "thick and fast".
"In the first and second round Kuba appeared to be getting the better of his opponent, but towards the end of the second round was leaning on the ropes and appeared to be vomiting," Mr Bates said.
"Early in round three Kuba's opponent struck him with a flurry of blows. He collapsed to the floor at about 8.47pm.
"It became rapidly apparent he was in a bad way and soon identified as comatose."
He was rushed to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and put in intensive care but died of his injuries two days later.
The court also heard how Kuba's trainer had come to visit and given her £250 - Kuba's agreed fee. The next day Kerpe came to the hospital and made his offer.
"He really didn't ask how was my son, he just said, 'I know he is unconscious, I came to ask how much money do you want?'," said Ms Smigat.
The next day a friend of hers came to her with an envelope with £1,500 in saying "This is from Aurelijus Kerpe, and there will be more", she said.
The trial, expected to last a week and a half, continues.