Andrzej Kunowski (nicknamed The Beast; 1956 – 23 September
2009) was a Polish rapist and murderer. After illegally
immigrating from Poland, where he had previously served 10 years
in prison for 27 sex attacks on girls and women, to the United
Kingdom in 1996, he strangled Katerina Koneva, a 12-year-old
Macedonian girl, to death in her parents' flat in Hammersmith
after she returned there from school on 22 May 1997.
In 2003, Kunowski was sentenced to nine years
imprisonment for the kidnapping and rape of a Korean student. DNA
and fingerprint samples taken from him matched a hair found on an
item of clothing belonging to Koneva and fingerprints on one of
the flat's windows and window ledges, and he was convicted of her
murder and given a life sentence with a recommendation that he
never be released in March 2004.
'The Beast' killer dies in prison
September 26, 2009
A convicted killer dubbed "the Beast" who raped
and murdered a 12-year-old girl has died in prison.
Police say Andrzej Kunowski died of heart
failure on Wednesday at Frankland prison, Durham, where he was
serving a life sentence.
He was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2004 for
killing Katerina Koneva at her home in Hammersmith, west London,
Police say he has also been linked to numerous
investigations, including the disappearances of two young women.
He had previously served 10 years in jail in
his native Poland where he became known as "the Beast" for 27
serious sex attacks on girls and women from the age of 17.
Police in West London say he is a suspect in
the disappearances of 19-year-old student Elizabeth Chau in 1999
and Lola Shenkoya, a 27-year-old who vanished on her way home from
work in 2000.
Detectives say they particularly want to speak
to anyone who may have shared a cell with Kunowski during his time
Kunowski's trial was told he was on the run for
raping a 10-year-old girl in Poland at the time of the murder.
Following his conviction in March 2004, Det Ch
Insp David Little said: "He is probably the most dangerous sex
offender I have ever come across and certainly the most prolific."
Katerina was strangled at her home on 22 May
1997 after she returned from school. Her father, Trajce Konev,
came face to face with an intruder when he returned home and
chased him into the street.
Kunowski was charged with murdering the girl
when his DNA, which was taken after he was arrested for raping a
student, matched a hair found on Katerina's cardigan.
Rapist known as The Beast takes secrets to
September 28, 2009
A predatory sex killer known as 'The Beast',
who was linked to several unsolved crimes, has died in prison.
Police said Andrezej Kunowski, 52, was
'probably the most dangerous' of all sex offenders.
He was jailed for life in March 2004 after
strangling a 12-year-old girl.
The Polish illegal immigrant came to Britain in
1996 after escaping prison in Poland, where he had been convicted
of 17 rapes and faced a total of 70 charges.
In May 1997, he followed 12-year-old Katerina
Koneva from school to her West London home and strangled her.
Her father came home to find Kunowski in the
house and chased him away before returning to discover his dying
Kunowski's trail of sex crimes might have ended
only a month later, when he was arrested for theft. But in a
series of blunders by police, he was neither fingerprinted nor
DNA-tested and was allowed to disappear.
He was then linked to several sex attacks and
the disappearances of two women.
In 2002, he was charged with raping a
21-year-old student in London. Police found his DNA matched traces
on Katerina's body and he was jailed for life. He died of heart
failure on Wednesday at Frankland Prison, Durham.
Yesterday Katerina's mother, Zaklina, said: 'He
has escaped punishment. The only positive part is that he will
never inflict such a horrific act on any other person.'
Police hope other victims will come forward.
Detective Inspector Andy Manning said: 'Now Kunowski is dead I am
hoping anyone who was too scared previously will speak to us.'
Rapist on the run strangled 12-year-old
Milly Dowler case police to question killer
April 1, 2004
AN illegal immigrant was jailed for life at the Old Bailey
yesterday for strangling a 12-year-old girl in her home while
on the run after being jailed for rape in his native Poland.
Last night, police said they would be questioning Andrezej
Kunowski, 48, about the unsolved disappearances of other
girls, and the murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
He was in prison in Poland for the rape of a 10-year-old girl when
a judge set him free unsupervised for three months in
1996 so that he could have a hip operation.
Kunowski, who sexually assaulted 27 children and young women in a
criminal career spanning 30 years, fled to London.
The following year he strangled 12-year-old Katerina Koneva in her
home in Hammersmith, after she had returned from
Kunowski, of Acton, west London, was disturbed by Katerina's
father, who had returned to the house to find the living
room door barricaded with a chair.
Passing sentence, Judge Peter Beaumont, the Common Serjeant of
London, told Kunowski that life must mean life, to protect
After the verdict, police said they would question Kunowski about
the unsolved disappearances of other girls, and the
murder of Milly Dowler.
Kunowski is already serving a nine-year sentence for raping a
21-year-old Korean student in September 2002. He had lured
the student to a bedsit from outside Ealing Broadway Tube station
in west London.
Milly vanished six months earlier, on March 21, 2002, while
walking home from Walton-on-Thames railway station in Surrey after school. Her body
was found seven months later in woodland near Fleet,
Katerina's parents, Trajce and Zaklina, wept yesterday as Kunowski
was jailed for murdering her on May 22, 1997. He had
denied the killing. Earlier, Mrs Koneva sobbed uncontrollably as
Kunowski's catalogue of crimes was read out.
Nicholas Hilliard, prosecuting, said Kunowski had escaped from
custody several times in his 30-year career.
Some of the victims of his 17 rapes, eight attempted rapes and one
attempted murder in Poland were girls of 10 and 12,
ambushed as they arrived home from school. Others were dragged
into bushes and fields. He was arrested in 1995 for raping
a 10-year-old as she went home from school. He was also charged
with raping a 12-year-old, but in 1996 was allowed free
by the judge. He fled to Britain, where he assumed a Portuguese
Mr Hilliard said Kunowski was later detained in the UK and ordered
to be deported when an asylum claim failed in 2002.
However, Kunowski failed to turn up for deportation and raped the
Korean student a few days later at his home. He was
jailed at the Old Bailey last year.
Katerina was alone in an empty flat for the first time after
school when she was targeted by Kunowski. She had sought
sanctuary in Britain from Macedonia in the Balkans two years
earlier with her family.
After pushing his way into the flat, Kunowski slowly throttled
Katerina with a cord in a sexually-motivated attack.
However, as she slipped into unconsciousness, he was disturbed by
Mr Koneva, who had been delayed because of an exam.
Finding the living room door barricaded with a chair, Mr Koneva
looked under the door and saw a man's feet.
He said: "I started like mad kicking with all my body. I was
trying just to get in because I knew something was wrong."
Kunowski left his fingerprints as he leapt out of a first-floor
window of the house. After a desperate chase, during
which Mr Koneva was threatened with a knife, he returned home,
forced the door and found Katerina.
Mr Koneva broke down as he described his frantic efforts to save
his daughter by cutting the cord round her neck.
Outside the Old Bailey, Mrs Koneva said she hoped Kunowski would
"burn in hell."
A Home Office spokesman said: "It is a matter of great concern
that this individual with such a serious criminal history
managed to get into this country and that his background was not
uncovered when he came to our attention."
"Our system has been completely overhauled since then. All
suspected asylum seekers are now electronically fingerprinted
on entry and these details are then fed into a European warning
index which would alert us to criminal activity."
Rapist murdered girl in her home
March 31, 2004
A 48-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing
a girl at her home in west London.
Polish-born Andrezej Kunowski, of Acton, west London, had denied
murdering Katerina Koneva, claiming it was a case of
The 12-year-old was strangled at her home in Hammersmith on 22 May
1997 after she returned from school.
The Old Bailey was told Kunowski was on the run for raping a
10-year-old girl in Poland at the time of the murder.
He previously served 10 years in jail in Poland for 27 serious sex
attacks on girls and women from the age of 17.
After the verdict, police said they would be questioning Kunowski
about other unsolved cases, including the murder of 13
-year-old Milly Dowler.
She vanished on 21 March, 2002, while walking home from
Walton-on-Thames railway station in Surrey.
Her body was found seven months later in woodland near Fleet,
Sentencing him, the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Peter
Beaumont, said that for Kunowski life would mean life to
Det Ch Insp David Little said: "He is probably the most dangerous
sex offender I have ever come across and certainly the
In a statement, Zaklina Koneva, Katerina's mother, said: "The only
feeling I have is one of relief. I am relieved that
this evil man is no longer free to murder or sexually assault
another young girl."
Katerina's father, Trajce Konev, returned home in 1997 and came
face to face with an intruder and chased him into the
Kunowski was charged with murdering the girl when his DNA, which
was taken after he was arrested for raping a student,
matched a hair found on Katerina's cardigan.
He also left fingerprints as he leapt out of a first-floor window
of the house in Iffley Road.
During the trial, Mr Konev told the court he looked through the
keyhole of the barricaded door and saw his daughter's bag
in the room.
And when he looked under the door he saw a pair of men's black
"I started like mad kicking it with all my body. I was trying just
to get in, because my brain was saying I knew
something was wrong," Mr Konev told the jury.
He said he then ran downstairs and came face to face with the man
outside bedroom window.
"I looked at him. He was so cool. It was so strange. Then I
noticed a little bit of blood on the side of his face," Mr
"I just asked what he was doing in my house. He just looked at me
and ran away. I went after him."
He eventually lost the man, the court was told.
When Mr Konev returned to the flat he forced the door open.
Katerina was found lying with a cord tied tightly round her neck,
the jury heard. It had been given to her as part of a
present after she arrived in Britain from Macedonia in 1995.
Polish link solves girl's murder
By Jeremy Britton - BBC News Online
March 31, 2004
The police hunt for the killer of 12-year-old Katerina Koneva
ended up with the arrest of a serial rapist on the run from
Detectives working on the case in west London appeared to have
plenty of leads but it still proved to be the most
frustrating of cases.
The bright schoolgirl, a refugee from Macedonia looking for a
better life in Britain, was found strangled at her home.
Her attacker had been spotted by her father, Trajce, escaping from
the family's flat through a back garden. He
immediately gave chase.
At least seven eyewitnesses saw the man running away and a
security video showed Katerina's father desperately trying to
catch his daughter's killer.
But despite an extensive inquiry and three separate appeals for
information on BBC's Crimewatch programme, the trail went
The breakthrough only came last year after an illegal Polish
immigrant was found guilty at the Old Bailey of raping a
foreign student and sentenced to nine years.
The court heard how Andrzej Kunowski, a 45-year-old tailor living
in Acton, west London, approached the Korean student
outside a Tube station as she waited for a friend and offered to
find her a bedsit.
Instead he took her to his flat and attacked her and when she
tried to resist he started to choke her and then tied her
She only escaped by promising to phone Kunowski the next day.
Crucially, a DNA sample taken from Kunowski at the time proved
identical to a hair discovered in packaging containing a
cardigan belonging to Katerina Koneva.
Kunowski had also left his fingerprints on the window and window
ledge as he escaped from the family flat where Katerina
Forensic analysis showed they were "fresh" and made within the
previous 72 hours.
The final piece of the jigsaw came from Polish police - they had
charged Kunowski with the rape of a 10-year-old girl in
Warsaw in 1995.
In this attack Kunowski had again allegedly started to choke the
girl and left her tied up before he was caught escaping
from her flat.
DNA evidence from a sofabed in the flat was analysed by Scotland
Yard and proved a perfect match to Kunowski.
Kunowski never stood trial for the rape of the Warsaw girl as he
was released on bail for health reasons and fled to
England where he would strike twice again.
It also emerged that Kunowski had attacked another 27 women and
children in Poland, mostly in the north eastern town of
Mlawa, where he was a driver for a construction company.
He committed his first rape at 17, and was sentenced to 15 years
He came to England in 1996 where he disappeared from sight after
being refused asylum.
Police from the UK's serious crime directorate are now
investigating offences across Europe where women have gone missing
to see if they may be linked to Kunowski.
Mother's anger at daughter's killer
March 31, 2004
Katerina Koneva's family had come to Britain to escape the
war-torn area of Macedonia.
Their new life in Hammersmith, west London, had flourished for two
Her father Trajce was a mature student learning English at the
local college and Katerina, a bright, quiet girl, spoke
good English and attended Holland Park School.
But their new-found happiness evaporated in May, 1997 when
Katerina returned from school to find convicted paedophile
Andrezej Kunowski waiting for her.
The illegal immigrant tied a piece of cord tightly round her neck
and slowly throttled her.
He was disturbed by Katerina's father and jumped out of the
window, leaving Katerina for dead.
Katerina's mother, Zaklina, visits her daughter's grave almost
At home, a shrine commemorates the life of the 12-year-old who was
murdered by a paedophile who should never have been
Zaklina and Trajce are now divorced. Zaklina is living in a new
flat in Hammersmith with her son Christian, 12.
Mrs Koneva has bought Katerina Christmas and birthday presents
every year since her daughter was murdered.
She said: "I talk to her every day. We say goodnight to our
children, don't we? So I always say goodnight to my
In an angry statement after the verdict, she said: "Today I do not
feel happy. I wish that I was not giving this
statement and that Katerina was still here by my side.
"I am relieved that this evil man is no longer free to murder or
sexually assault another young girl.
"Today I do not feel that justice has been done. I hope that this
evil murderer burns in hell.
"Knowing he is in prison is not enough for me. I hope he suffers
every minute of the rest of his life.
"All life imprisonment means is that other children will be safe
and no other parent will have to go through what we have
because of him."
She also feels bitter that the serial sex attacker who took
Katerina's life fled to Britain from Poland where he was
under arrest for rape.
A Polish judge gave him three months bail to get a hip operation.
Left unsupervised, he did not have the operation but came to
Britain, entering as a tourist, and then becoming an illegal
Mrs Koneva said: "I am aware that he had serious criminal
convictions and impending prosecutions in Poland.
"Something must be done to ensure that such a thing does not
She also felt police would never catch her daughter's killer.
Two months after Katerina's killing, Princess Diana died in Paris.
Public interest switched away from the murder of a
schoolgirl in London.
Two years later the senior officer in the case, Detective
Superintendent Hamish Campbell, was switched to the Jill Dando
"That was when I felt the investigation was over. I felt very
For Mrs Koneva it is the end of a long vigil.
She attended court each day of Kunowski's trial and collapsed
outside court after hearing the pathologist's evidence.
Katerina: A father's tale
March 31, 2004
It has been nearly seven years since 12-year-old Katerina Koneva
was murdered in her own home by a paedophile.
Andrezej Kunowski, an illegal immigrant from Poland, was on the
run from another sex crime when he strangled the girl to
death after she came home from school one afternoon.
For Katerina's father Trajce it has been seven long years of
His daughter's killer was finally brought to justice after
forensic evidence obtained by the Metropolitan Police matched
DNA material found at a similar crime Kunowski was alleged to have
committed in Warsaw.
The Koneva family moved from the Balkans to Britain two years
before Katerina's death.
In the cruellest of ironies, they moved to west London in search
of sanctuary from ethnic violence in their native
Trajce's nightmare began on 22 May 1997 when he returned home to
the family flat in Hammersmith.
He had been studying English at a local college as a mature
student and was delayed getting home because of an exam,
while Katerina's mother Zaklina had been out with a friend.
Trajce knew something was wrong when he could not open the front
door which was barricaded with a chair.
Although he saw his daughter's bag in a room, he also saw a pair
of men's black shoes.
He told the Old Bailey during Kunowski's trial: "It was the very
first time our daughter was alone. I expected everything
to be all right.
"I started like mad kicking it [the door] with all my body. I was
trying just to get in, because my brain was saying I
knew something was wrong."
"I was desperate to get in because my feelings were bad. I was so
scared. I thought that maybe if someone is inside and
she cannot get to the door, he must get to the window and jump, so
I ran downstairs," he said.
In a neighbour's garden Trajce came face to face with killer
Kunowski and it was the stare the serial rapist gave that
will stay with him forever.
"I just asked what he was doing in my house. He just looked at me
and ran away. I went after him.
"It's difficult to put into words, but I remember the way the man
looked at me. He was so cool. He just looked at me and
ran away," he said.
What Trajce did not know when he instinctively decided to chase
Kunowski in a desperate attempt to catch him, was that
his daughter was dying in a room in the family flat.
After losing his daughter's killer he returned home, forced the
door open and found Katerina lying dead with a cord tied
tightly round her neck.
The bright, quiet 12-year-old who had been doing well at the local
Holland Park school, was raped and strangled during a
three hour period.
Trajce broke down in court when he described how he tried to save
his daughter's life by cutting the cord that was round
He told the Old Bailey: "I tried to release it. It was too tight.
I could not get it. I went to the kitchen to take
"I took a knife - I cut it. I started to cry and call her name -
Katerina, Katerina. A policeman and I tried to resuscitate her."
At the Old Bailey Judge Peter Beaumont called Katerina "a child of
He sentenced Kunowski to life imprisonment, recommending that the
48-year-old should not be released.
Mystery of girl stabbed by intruder
May 23, 1997
A 12-year-old refugee girl who was strangled to death at her home
by an intruder was described by her headmistress yesterday as an
"exceptional pupil" and a great loss.
Police are hunting the killer of Katerina Koneva, who moved to
Britain two years ago from the former Yugoslavian state of
Macedonia, after her father found her dead.
Trajce Koneva returned home on Wednesday afternoon to find a man
in his first floor flat in Hammersmith, west London. A scuffle
followed and the intruder escaped through a window, but the father
chased him into the street, apparently unaware that his daughter
Mr Koneva continued to chase the man until he hijacked a Fiat Uno,
forcing the female driver out of the car. The man abandoned the
car nearby and escaped on foot.
It was not until the father returned home that he discovered his
A man, who lived downstairs from the Konevas, said yesterday: "I
heard the father shouting ... `please come and help me someone'
... We went to help him ... and then we saw Katerina on the floor.
Her face was a strange bluish-purple colour. We didn't know if she
was still alive, but we thought she was because she was still
"Then an ambulance came and they tried to give her the kiss of
life. But a policeman said later that she was dead."
Mr Koneva came to this country about four years ago. His wife,
daughter, and six-year-old son joined him two years later. The
dead girl was a pupil in the first year at Holland Park School in
Kensington, west London, where headteacher Mary Marsh yesterday
wrote to all parents saying: "It is with profound sadness that I
write to tell you of the tragic death of Katerina Koneva.
"It appears that Katerina was attacked at home soon after she
returned from school. You will share our shock and deep distress
about this. Katerina was an exceptional student ... She is a great
loss to us."
The motive for the attack remains unclear. Police have yet to say
whether there was any indication of sexual assault, or whether the
flat was burgled.
The suspect is of Greek or Arabic appearance and in his middle to
late forties. He was of stocky build, 5ft 6in tall, with receding
hair, short at the sides.
Neighbours have laid flowers outside the dead girl's house.
Andrezej Kunowski: The Little Doctor
Caught in the Act
“It’s Daddy! Open up!”
Trajce Konev stood knocking at the locked door of his home in the
London suburb of Hammersmith. His 12-year-old daughter,
Katerina, was home alone. He couldn’t understand why she didn’t
It was May 22, 1997, two years after Konev, a Macedonian, had
arrived in England with his family as refugees from the
ethnic war in the Balkans.
They were all learning English together—wife Zaklina; son
Christian, 6, and daughter Katerina, a lovely and lively
adolescent with long, sable-colored hair, a bright smile and eyes
the color of mahogany.
Konev was studying at a local college and had been delayed by an
“I raced home fast on my bicycle, because it was the first time my
daughter was alone in the house after school,” he
would later explain. “I expected everything to be all right.”
But it was not all right. She wasn’t answering.
“At first I thought, ‘Katerina may be changing her clothes,’ and
waited a few seconds,” he said.
Konev peered through the keyhole and saw Katerina’s school bag on
the floor. He then dropped to his knees and looked
under the door.
“I saw two men’s black shoes,” he said. “I was shocked. I knew she
was there … I knew something was wrong.”
Konev banged his shoulder into the door to no effect, so he ran
around the house — just in time to find a strange man
climbing out a window.
“We came face to face,” Konev said. “I noticed one small drop of
blood on the left side of his face…He was staring at me.
I asked him, ‘What are you doing in my house?’ He was just so
calm. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me and ran
away. I went after him.”
Konev chased the intruder for a few blocks, but the man managed to
turn the tables by hollering for help just as Konev
had him in his clutches.
Two workmen interceded and ordered Konev to back off.
The attacker ran on and jumped in front of a Fiat. The driver,
Christina Kearney, said he hollered, “Help me, help me,
call the police!”
He suddenly brandished a knife, ordered Kearney out of the car and
Meanwhile, instead of trying to explain the situation to the
workmen with his limited English, Konev ran back home,
pausing to ring a police alarm.
He broke through a chair barricading the door and found young
Katerina unconscious on the floor.
She had been choked with a piece of cord cut from a Virgin
Atlantic flight bag that Katerina used to tote her books.
The garrote was so taut that Konev could not release it with his
hands. He got a knife and cut the cord from his
“I started to cry and shout her name — ‘Katerina! Katerina!’”
A policeman arrived and tried to revive the girl. It was futile.
She was beyond saving.
Case Goes Cold
In a cruel twist, Trajce Konev became the initial suspect in the
Police doubted his story about chasing off an attacker, and he was
ordered confined while detectives investigated.
Zaklina Konev arrived at the police station to find Trajce behind
bars wearing a prisoner’s overalls.
She jumped to conclusions — perhaps understandably.
“What have you done to our little girl?” Zaklina demanded.
“I remember just banging my head from wall to wall in my cell,”
Trajce Konev later said. “I couldn’t believe what was
happening. They must have thought I was a madman. They thought I
had killed my Katerina.”
He was quickly cleared on evidence that included the eyewitness
accounts, a security camera videotape that showed him
chasing the suspect, and fingerprints found on the window the
attacker had climbed through.
Police found another clue that would prove crucial: A single
strange hair on Katerina’s sweater.
The investigation revealed that the same man who killed Katerina
had earlier stalked three other adolescents in
Hammersmith. Each girl had long, dark hair, like Katerina.
Detectives surmised he followed the girl home, made sure she was
alone, then knocked. Katerina opened the door, probably
assuming it was her father.
It seemed a simple crime to solve, with both forensic and
eyewitness evidence. But the investigation went nowhere.
The killer seemed to have disappeared amid the 7 million people of
But he was hiding in plain sight and, in fact, had been in and out
of police custody within a month of the murder.
Forensic evidence alone cannot bring criminals to justice.
Competent investigators use the evidence as to solve crimes.
Unfortunately for Katerina Konev’s loved ones, competence went
lacking in this case, despite the sterling reputation of
London’s Metropolitan Police.
But the murderer was accustomed to law enforcement incompetence.
He had benefited from bungling bureaucrats from one end
of Europe to the other.
The killer would prove to be a native of Poland named Andrezej
Kunowski, whose career as a rapist would span 30 years.
Kunowski was born Andrezej Klembert in Warsaw in 1956, just after
the signing of the Warsaw Pact enshrouded Poland behind
the Iron Curtain.
He was the only child of parents of questionable character; they
stole anything they could get their hands on. As a
result, Kunowski had a troubled boyhood, according to Dan Newling
of London’s Daily Mail newspaper.
At age 2, he was sent off to an orphanage because his mother,
father and maternal grandmother were all in prison. To
boot, his grandfather was locked up in a state psychiatric
hospital for unspecified sexual offenses.
When Elzbieta Klembert was released, she reclaimed her son,
divorced her husband, and married a cement mason, Stephan
The family settled in Mlawa, a gritty city of 30,000 in the Polish
lowlands 80 miles north of Warsaw that was known for
producing shoes, milk and meat.
Mlawa had a troubling history.
During World War II, as many as 7,000 Jews from Mlawa were
exterminated. When a handful of Jewish survivors limped home
in 1946, they were aghast to find that Mlawa’s Poles had excavated
graves in the Jewish cemetery and removed gold teeth,
jewelry and other valuables from the corpses, which were then left
to rot in piles.
The hatred of Jews was so intense there that a memorial to
Holocaust victims in Mlawa was destroyed by Poles again and
again after the war. And ethnic hostility persists. In 1991,
Mlawa’s men launched a pogrom against Gypsies in the city.
Growing up in Mlawa in the 1960s, young Andrezej was viewed as a
mama’s boy. And when other children teased him, Kunowski
reacted with a ferocity that seemed out of proportion to the
He was a small child with mighty fists. During fights, Andrezej
would throttle his foes with a bear-claw grip until they
He also developed a habit of ogling pretty girls with a
frightening glint in his eye, as though in a trance. Elzbieta
expressed concerned that her son seemed unable to recall these
episodes of fighting or inappropriate staring.
Andrezej also began to steal as his teen years arrived. Perhaps it
was genetic. In any case, at age 13 he was packed away
to a facility for delinquent juveniles, where his various problems
were allowed to fester.
The Little Doctor
Andrezej Kunowski began attacking girls and women soon after he
was released from juvenile detention.
From the outset, he seemed to be the most frightening type of
sexual predator. His attacks did not stem from an
occasional random impulse. They were compulsive, coming in
Most of his victims were in their teens and early 20s. The oldest
victim was 41, although most of his more mature targets
seemed younger than their actual age. He assaulted at least three
His standard MO was to stalk a pretty adolescent girl after
school. If she was a latchkey child without after-school
supervision, he would break in and attack her.
In other cases, victims were dragged off into bushes or remote
Kunowski’s attacks were based on sheer strength. He was a brute,
not a suave seducer, in the manner of, say, American
serial killer Ted Bundy.
He certainly did not have Bundy’s good looks. Kunowski was
balding, round and just 5-foot-4. He often wore a toupee and
elevator heels to try to disguise his shortcomings.
The Daily Mail’s Newley reported that Kunowski dressed himself
fastidiously, with shirts carefully tucked in and shoes
shined to a high gloss. He doused himself in cologne.
Kunowski had an oddly formal, Old World demeanor, bowing and
clicking his heels when making a new acquaintance. His
nickname was “maly doktor”—the Little Doctor.
Kunowski wasn’t a clever criminal. But he didn’t need to be smart,
as his rap sheet and prison record display.
His first reported rape came in June 1973, when he accosted a
neighbor girl in Mlawa. He dragged her into the bushes and
forced himself on her. The victim was acquainted with Kunowski and
readily identified him as her attacker.
Two other teenagers stepped forward to accuse him in similar
attacks, but he was prosecuted for just the one case and
sent to prison for three years.
On July 16, 1977, a month after his parole, he struck again,
attacking a girlish-looking 24-year-old. He choked the woman
until she lost consciousness and likely would have killed her had
witnesses not intervened.
He spent less than nine months in jail after that attack, then
went on a violent tear, traveling back and forth between
Mlawa and Warsaw to find victims.
On April 12, 1978, he attempted to rape a 22-year-old woman who
fought him off. Later the same day, he succeeded in
raping a 27-year-old.
On June 23, he robbed and raped a 22-year-old woman, dragging her
into bushes. Eight days later he raped a 16-year-old,
followed by the rape of a 12-year-old on July 21.
Kunowski’s violent urges seem to ramp after those attacks. Most of
his rapes after July 1978 involved choking. He often
left his victims unconsciousness, although none died.
Experts recognize choking and strangulation as a singular form of
criminal pathology. It is considered the most intimate
variety of assault or murder — more personal and hands-on than the
use of a gun or a knife. And it gives the assailant an
unparalleled sense of domination and control.
On Aug. 4, Kunowski choked and raped a 19-year-old, then pulled
identical crimes against a 22-year-old a week later; a
20-year-old on Sept. 6; a 17-year-old just two days later, and
another 17-year-old on Sept. 20.
In October 1978, he raped, robbed and choked at least four women
in one week—ages 17, 20, 28 and 30. He accosted four
more women and girls in November, ages 19, 21, 15 and 11—the
latter his youngest victim yet.
He raped and choked a 16-year-old on Dec. 14, then victimized
another 11-year-old three days before Christmas.
On Jan. 25, 1979, Kunowski stole a car that he used for a rampage
of sexual violence the next day.
One Jan. 26, he robbed and attempted to strangle a 41-year-old
woman; robbed and groped a 36-year-old woman, then raped,
robbed and choked a 20-year-old woman.
Brief Jail Stay
At long last, Polish police caught up with him and returned him to
jail. But his sexual assaults continued even there.
On Feb. 24, he forced a male cellmate to perform oral sex, then
raped another cellmate on March 1.
It seemed remarkable enough that Polish authorities had failed to
suspect and arrest Kunowski, a twice-convicted rapist,
during his string of assaults. But the country’s criminal justice
incompetence was merely beginning.
Kunowski somehow escaped from Polish prison on April 25, 1979. Six
weeks later, he raped a 13-year-old girl he followed
home from school.
He was arrested the next day and returned to prison but escaped
yet again that August. He committed more attacks before
he was rearrested.
Finally, he faced justice for his long list of crimes, which
included 17 sexual assaults and eight attempted rapes.
The prosecutor, Waldemar Smarzewski, sought a long sentence,
recognizing that Kunowski had little chance of reform.
“There were about 70 charges, made up of rapes, attempted rapes,
lechery with children, endangering a child’s life and
attempted murder,” Smarzewski told the Daily Mail. “This was a
very important and dangerous case because of the number of
victims and what he did to them. I wanted to put him away for
longer because he was very dangerous. I was sure that if he
left prison, he would go back to rape and maybe even kill.”
Kunowski was sentenced to a total of 30 years. Finally, it seemed
that Polish women and children would be saved from him.
But revolution interceded.
When the Communist regime was routed in Poland in 1989, the
opening of prison doors became fashionable.
Andrezej Kunowski was one of those who benefited. He was freed for
good behavior in 1991, after serving less than six
years for attacking 23 women and girls and two men.
After his release, Kunowski married and fathered a daughter. He
found work as a cosmetics salesman, and he seemed to
reform for most of a year.
But as always, his compulsion got the best of him.
He Walks Again
On Aug. 12, 1992, he raped another 11-year-old girl in Mlawa, then
moved to Warsaw, where he raped two more adolescents.
He was arrested in 1993, but escaped prison yet again and was on
the lam for two years.
In March 1995, the Little Doctor is believed to have abducted
Agnieszka Grzybicka, 14, who disappeared while walking home
from school in Mlawa.
Two months later, he was arrested in Warsaw in connection with two
attacks that occurred on consecutive days — both
against adolescent girls who, like young Agnieszka, were followed
home from school.
As he awaited trial, Kunowski began filing medical complaints
about persistent pain in his left hip. X-rays showed no
problem, but doctors finally acquiesced in his insistence that he
be scheduled for hip-replacement surgery.
Perhaps no one was more stunned than Kunowski when, in June 1996,
Polish authorities announced that he would be freed on
a medical furlough to await the operation.
It turned out Kunowski’s hip was not bad enough to deter him from
running from justice.
He sold his apartment and used the profits to buy a fake Polish
passport. He then boarded a bus in Warsaw and was waved
through border security checks across northern Europe, through
Germany and Belgium and into Calais, France, where he
boarded a ferry that crossed the Strait of Dover to England.
On Oct. 15, 1996, he arrived by bus at London’s Victoria Coach
Station on Buckingham Palace Road.
No one would have noticed him.
Each day, more than 300,000 people pass through Victoria, a
bustling amalgam of bus, train and Underground stations.
Then as now, Polish nationals poured into London each day on
tourist visas to look for work. Kunowski blended right in.
When Polish authorities realized that Kunowski had left, they
issued an international warrant through Interpol. His
photograph and fingerprints were made available via Interpol’s
crime database to its 125 member countries — the United
Kingdom among them.
But Kunowski was not fingerprinted when he arrived in the United
Kingdom, so British authorities had no way of knowing
that a notorious sex fiend had arrived there.
He had a clean slate to find new victims in a fresh country.
The attack on Katerina Konev, 219 days after Kunowski arrived in
England, had not gone as he planned.
First, Kunowski had been interrupted by the arrival of the child’s
father. The Little Doctor had to abort the assault
before reaching the sick sexual gratification he got from
And the close contact with witnesses — including Trajce Konev, the
two workmen, and Christina Kearney, owner of the
hijacked car — placed him at peril of being identified.
He lived in Acton, just a few miles from the scene of the crime in
Hammersmith. He assumed — incorrectly — that these
clues might soon lead Scotland Yard’s finest to the door of his
He decided to get out of town.
The day after the murder, Kunowski gave up his room in Acton and
fled to the countryside, taking a job at a strawberry
farm in Ledbury, west of London.
But stealing, his genetic Achilles heel, cost him the job after
just a month.
The Birmingham Sunday Mercury said he was accused of filching cash
from the office at Siddington Farms.
“He was a bit of a strange one — a loner, I suppose,” said farm
manager Glyn Lewis. “We had hundreds of different workers
on the farm, but he always stuck out in my mind.”
He was arrested for theft, but Britain dropped that charge and
focused on deportation when it learned that he was in the
country illegally. After first claiming Portuguese citizenship,
Kunowski admitted he was a Pole.
He had one last gambit: Kunowski applied for asylum under an
economic hardship. While his application was being
considered, he was allowed to walk free, once again.
His petition was denied in the fall of 1997. But by then, Kunowski
had gotten lost in London.
He hadn’t even been fingerprinted after his arrest, let alone
subjected to a DNA swabbing.
In 1998, British immigration authorities received a letter from
Kunowski saying that he had returned to Poland. It was
postmarked from Poland, but likely had been sent by Kunowski’s
Immigration officials continued to list Kunowski as “missing,”
although there was no active attempt to find him.
It couldn’t have been too difficult. The Little Doctor likely
never left London.
The evidence was at hand in automobile and apartment rental
records. He owned a Renault automobile that he kept
registered and insured. And his mother traveled from Poland to
visit him in his Acton apartment at least three times in
the late 1990s.
In 2001, British taxpayers treated the wanted illegal immigrant to
heart bypass at Hammersmith Hospital, located a block
from the apartment where he strangled Katerina Konev.
In July 2002, Kunowski was arrested for collecting welfare
benefits under the name Jose Marco da Dias. But again he was
released before anyone made a connection to the Konev killing or
his history as a sexual predator in Poland.
Conviction & Sentence
Another crime finally brought him down.
On Sept. 22, 2002, Kunowski was loitering in the London
Underground station at Ealing Broadway, probably looking for
He spotted a young woman, a recent arrival from Korea who looked
younger than her 21 years.
Kunowski moved close enough to see that she was looking at
advertisements of rooms for rent.
He struck up a conversation with the woman, whose English was even
more halting than his.
Kunowski explained that he could help her find a cheap room at his
boarding house in Acton, and she agreed to accompany
Once inside his room, Kunowski attacked. He tied the woman up and
subjected her to a brutal three-hour rape.
She said he choked her until she nearly passed out. She talked her
way to freedom by promising to phone Kunowski the next
day to schedule another visit.
As noted, he wasn’t a clever criminal.
Instead, the victim went to police, and Kunowski was arrested and
charged with rape.
At trial in May 2003 at London’s Old Bailey, Kunowski claimed the
sex was consensual — a “thank you” because he helped
her find a place to stay.
The judge dismissed his alibi as absurd, and Kunowski was
convicted and sentenced to nine years.
But even then, the British had no reason to believe that Kunowski
was a serial rapist and murderer.
Only after the conviction did the extent of his predation — and
the government bungling that allowed him to attack again
and again — become clear.
DNA Finally Shared
After he was sent to prison, Kunowski’s identity and DNA profile
were shared with other countries via the Interpol
Through that data, Polish authorities realized that the British
convict was the serial rapist who had absconded while on
Scotland Yard compared its DNA sample from Kunowski with DNA from
swab evidence taken after the 1995 rape of one of the
adolescent girls in Warsaw. It matched.
The match prompted British police to begin looking at unsolved
attacks on adolescent girls there.
Within days, both DNA and fingerprint evidence linked Andrezej
Kunowski, at long last, to the murder of Katerina Konev.
He was charged in that case on July 29, 2003.
Kunowski claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
But the damning physical evidence was coupled with eyewitness
testimony from Trajce Konev, the victim of the auto theft
A jury of eight men and four women took less than three hours to
render a guilty verdict — even though jurors were denied
access to information about Kunowski’s long history of attacks.
The British press, too, learned only at trial’s end the extent of
his history of rape and the government bungles.
As Detective Chief Inspector David Little put it, “He is probably
the most dangerous sex offender I have ever come across
and certainly the most prolific.”
The press gave the Little Doctor a new nickname: the Beast of
Judge Peter Beaumont handed down the maximum sentence of life in
“I would be failing in my duty, in the light of the evidence about
your behavior both in Poland and this country,”
Beaumont said, “if I did not ensure you spend the rest of your
life in prison. …You took the life of a child who was just
beginning to enjoy what this country had to offer her and her
family as refugees from hardship abroad. It was a life of
great promise. You ended it in circumstances of great violence and
“Matter of Concern”
The British Home Office admitted it was a “matter of concern” that
Kunowski had not been unmasked as a wanted man years
Asylum-seekers are now fingerprinted and scrutinized through
Interpol, although British law still does not mandate DNA
testing of illegal immigrants.
But Inspector Little defended the British criminal justice system.
He said Kunowski managed to slip through the cracks because he
was, as an illegal alien, invisible to the British
criminal justice system.
“If the person doesn’t exist,” he said, “you can’t bring him to
Little said Kunowski has now been scrutinized in connection with
numerous other unsolved rapes and murders of women.
And although he has not been definitively linked to any additional
cases, Little said Kunowski’s criminal history leaves
not doubt that he was likely responsible for many other sex crimes
during his time in Britain.
“When he wasn’t incarcerated, he was committing offenses,” Little
Reaction from Poland
The Polish government has said that it would like to prosecute
Kunowski should he ever be freed in Britain.
But it is unlikely the U.K. would turn him over to the country
that bungled his incarceration and prosecution so many times.
“I knew he would strike again,” said Waldemar
Smarzewski, the Polish prosecutor. “He should remain behind bars
for the rest of his life. I am sorry this psychopath ever came to
His mother, Elzbieta Kunowski, defended her son
in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“He is ill, not evil,” she said. “He needs
proper medical and psychological care. … He is my son and I love
She said they talk often by phone, and her son
always praises the British penal system’s good food and good
If his left hip is getting achy, he hadn’t
The murder of Katerina Konev left her family
devastated and embittered.
In a statement at Kunowski’s sentencing,
Zaklina Konev said, “I find it impossible to understand how he was
allowed into the UK to commit this crime. … I hope that this evil
murderer burns in hell. Knowing he is in prison is not enough for
me. I hope he suffers every minute of the rest of his life.”
The child’s parents split up in 2000, four
years after the murder.
Trajce Konev said they could not overcome the
barrier created when his wife, seeing him in jail, accused him of
murdering their daughter.
“I had lost my little girl, but my wife was
attacking me, and my 6-year-old son was looking up at me with hate
in his eyes,” he told reporters.
“Things were never the same. The anger and hate
afterwards was unbearable,” he said. “I would argue all the time
with my wife. It was small things that would set us off — anything
which reminded us of the pain of losing Katerina. I frequently
told my wife I hated her. It was awful. I felt like I had gone mad
with grief … Finally we could take no more of each other and we
Konev, a Web site designer, said he attempted
suicide but has resolved to live for the sake of his son, now a
Zaklina Konev says grief hangs like a dark
cloud over their lives.
She said she buys gifts for her daughter at
Christmastime, and she carries on imaginary conversations with the
“I talk to her every day,” she said. “We say goodnight to our
children, don’t we? So I always say goodnight to my daughter.”
The child’s father, meanwhile, said he drew solace from
“I had finally beaten the devil,” said Trajce Konev. “I knew
this man could never again do to anyone else what he had done to