November 8, 2021 3.10 pm This story is over 24 months old

Jail for teenage murderer who tried to behead Roberts Buncis in brutal attack

Murderer is named after failed bid to keep his identity secret

A boy who murdered his 12-year-old friend after luring him to woodland and attempting to remove his head with a knife can today be named for this first time.

Roberts Buncis, 12, was found dead in the Fishtoft area of Boston on December 12.

He had been stabbed more than 70 times in a “brutal and prolonged” attack and had suffered wounds “consistent with an attempt to remove his head”.

His killer, Marcel Grzeszcz, who was just 14 at the time of the murder, was today given a sentence of detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure and must serve a minimum term of 17 years in custody before he is eligible for release.

Passing sentence at Lincoln Crown Court, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, told Grzeszcz, now 15, that it was an aggravating feature that he had made a “substantial effort to remove the deceased’s head”.

Mr Justice Baker told him: “I am sure that as the attack progressed, given the number of serious injuries you inflicted on the deceased, there came a point where you decided to kill the deceased, and you did so.”

He added: “There was a significant degree of planning and premeditation, including luring the deceased to the scene, and taking the knife with you.”

Mr Justice Baker said the killing was further aggravated by Grzeszcz’s attempts to conceal evidence – with police finding both the murder weapon and other knives hidden around his bedroom.

He noted Grzeszcz was also still unwilling to talk about the circumstances of the murder.

Roberts Buncis and his dad Edgar. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

Grzeszcz, who lived near to the grassy area where Roberts body was found, was found guilty of murder at a trial earlier this year but could not be named until Mr Justice Baker lifted an anonymity order at his sentencing hearing today.

Roberts, who was born in Latvia, lived with his father Edgars just a short walk from where he was killed. He was a pupil at the local Haven High Academy and was due to celebrate his 13th birthday a couple of days after his death.

His father watched on from the public gallery as Mary Loram, QC, prosecuting, gave details of their life in the UK.

Miss Loram said: “Father and son moved to England from Latvia when Roberts was seven.

“He made friends easily, learned English and initially at least did well at school. He took up sports, judo and football.

“It is clear his father worked hard. In his previous statement he says ‘he didn’t have much, but they made sure Roberts had what was needed’.”

Miss Loram also read out a brief further victim impact statement from Roberts’ father.

In the statement Mr Buncis described “how do I put into words” what happened to Roberts.

“His death at the hands of another boy, over what, drugs, fighting, girls, it doesn’t make sense.”

Mr Buncis added: “I’ve lost my destination, my purpose, my life is in the cemetery.”

Roberts Buncis, 12.

Miss Loram said it was the prosecution case that it was a “planned and premeditated killing”, with no evidence to suggest Roberts was armed as well.

“For an adult the starting point is 25 years, as we say the defendant carried a knife to the scene.

“However it is important to state that given the defendant’s age the starting point is 12 years. That is set down by law.”

Brendan Kelly, QC, mitigating for Grzeszcz, told the court it was accepted that at some point he formed an intention to kill Roberts.

But Mr Kelly argued there was some evidence to suggest that was not the entire plan and “something went wrong”.

Mr Kelly said while it was no excuse, the boy was a troubled young man who had been through a “period of chaos” during the whole of 2020 with his parents, and perhaps unwittingly the authorities.

“The net effect a troubled young man,” Mr Kelly explained.

Roberts Buncis takes his final journey. | Photo: John Aron

The defence opposed an application for the boy to be named, telling the court that both his parents were in court, and were concerned about him being identified.

Mr Kelly said a letter from Children’s Services at Lincolnshire County Council also explained their concerns on naming Grzeszcz for his welfare and that of his family.

The jury heard Roberts was found on ground off Alcorn Green in Fishtoft, near Boston, two days before his 13th birthday.

Pathologist Prof Guy Rutty, who examined his body, said he had identified 22 sites of injury across the neck, chest and abdomen, some containing up to 17 separate injuries.

As well as an attempt to decapitate Roberts he said there were also injuries consistent with someone “trying to remove the hand or fingers”.

Prosecutors said the defendant used such force the tip of the knife broke off and was later found embedded in Roberts’ skull.

People gathered the streets for Roberts’ funeral. | Photo: John Aron

Giving evidence, the teen claimed he had met up with his friend to hand over a stash of drugs for him to sell, but began arguing when he did not receive the £50 payment he was expecting.

Following the attack, Grzeszcz ran home and tried to hide the knife and burn the clothes and gloves he was wearing.

He later messaged a friend saying “things went wrong” and “this wasn’t supposed to go down like this.”

Miss Loram said Grzeszcz had previously discussed a plan with Roberts to rob a shop in order to get money to set himself up as a drug dealer.

But, she said, Roberts described the proposal as “too mad” and refused to be involved.

She told the court Grzeszcz feared that Roberts would snitch on him.

During the three week trial the jury heard the Grzeszcz also had a collection of knives in his bedroom and had been excluded from his primary school for taking a knife into class.

The jury was told by a fellow pupil that the Grzeszcz routinely carried a knife and would take a blade into his secondary school. At the time of the murder the boy had been excluded for drug dealing in the school.

Five days before the murder Grzeszcz carried out a street attack on another boy who was punched and kicked on his way to school.

Miss Loram said Grzeszcz intended to set up as a cannabis dealer, and apparently feared that Roberts would snitch on him.

He messaged another boy saying “Rob’s a liability” which was met with the response “If he snitch, smack time”.

More from the Roberts Buncis murder trial: