Two women tortured and murdered 'quiet, shy' neighbour after falsely accusing him of being a paedophile

17 May 2024, 05:26

Nicola Lethbridge and Zoe Rider killed Stephen Koszyczarski
Nicola Lethbridge and Zoe Rider killed Stephen Koszyczarski. Picture: South Yorkshire Police

By Kit Heren

Two women have been found guilty of murder after beating their neighbour to death, having falsely accused him of being a paedophile.

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Zoe Rider, 36, and Nicola Lethbridge, 45, were found guilty of the robbery and murder of Stephen Koszyczarski, 60.

They tortured and killed their neighbour at his home in Sheffield in August last year.

Jurors heard during the trial how they abused Mr Koszyczarski as they tortured him in footage played in court.

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Zoe Rider
Zoe Rider. Picture: South Yorkshire Police

They shouted: "Dirty, f****** wrong 'un...Having his f****** b**** cut off. Where's the knife, where's the scissors gone?

"Little f****** n**** that abuses little girls aren't you Steve?"

They continued abusing him and torturing him, until Mr Koszyczarski said he couldn't "stop bleeding", to which they replied that they didn't care.

The woman had no evidence to prove that their victim was a sex offender, and a subsequent South Yorkshire Police investigation also cleared him.

Mr Koszyczarski used a call line used to ask for medical assistance to appeal for help.

He asked for an ambulance, and in a recording of the line played in court the jurors could hear Rider in the background while he lay dying.

Nicola Lethbridge
Nicola Lethbridge. Picture: South Yorkshire Police

The women left before Mr Koszyczarski died, and went to a party nearby.

He was taken to hospital but died two days later.

Rider and Lethbridge were soon arrested, and a video was found of them assaulting Mr Koszyczarski on one of their phones.

Their DNA was also found on clothes belonging to Stephen.

They will be sentenced on June 5.

Stephen Koszyczarski
Stephen Koszyczarski. Picture: South Yorkshire Police

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Woodward, leading the investigation said: “Stephen was described as a quiet man. Although he had a close circle of friends, he kept himself to himself and just went about his business. He didn’t cause any problems or hurt anyone and his death was callous.

“Lethbridge and Rider had not only subjected Stephen to mental torture and physical abuse but they humiliated him during the attack wrongly accusing him of being a paedophile which was simply not the case.

“I am pleased with the jury’s verdict and the fact that these two will now spend a significant amount of years in prison.

“The community has been a huge support throughout our investigation, and I would like to thank those who showed bravery, taking a stand against criminals living in their communities, and providing witness statements and evidence.

“The support of the public, along with the hardworking officers on my team and police colleagues have ensured justice for Stephen.

“Although the guilty verdicts bring comfort that justice has been served, this remains a sad day because it is another reminder for everyone how violence can quickly end a life too soon, which impacts greatly on all those involved, and leaves family and friends with pain and holes in their lives.”