Dublin police have arrested two homeless people and charged them with assaulting Henryk Piotrowski, 43, the Polish immigrant who was crushed to death after falling asleep in a trash collection bin in the Temple Bar area on August 23.
The Irish Times reports that a post-mortem carried out on Piotrowski determined that what had initially appeared to be old injuries were instead consistent with an assault suffered shortly before his death.
After reviewing surveillance footage collected from businesses in the area, police have identified two homeless Polish nationals – a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s – as the assailants.
The pair were arrested and are being held at the police station in Crumlin. The suspects have not been charged with murder, since a post-mortem indicated that the injuries from the assault did not cause Piotrowski’s death.
Police believe that after the beating, Piotrowski climbed into a dumpster to sleep. The container was picked up by a garbage truck, and its contents – including the sleeping man – were crushed by the mechanical jaws that compact the contents.
The sanitation crew only discovered Piotrwoski’s mangled body when the truck’s contents were unloaded at the depot in Ballymount later in the day.
Piotrowski, who authorities believe emigrated to Ireland to work in construction during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, had been sleeping in hostels or on the streets for the past few years.
Because he was a foreign national, Piotrowski did not qualify for state social services, and was forced to eke out an existence – calling a toll-free number each day to see if he would have a hostel bed that night, eating in soup kitchens, showering in charitable outreach facilities. He suffered from alcoholism, and had been arrested 60 times since 2009, with most of the cases involving the theft of wine. The week before his death, he had received a suspended three-month jail sentence.
More arrests are possible, as authorities try to determine whether other people were involved in the assault.