The fiancée of a chef killed in a motor scooter accident is taking comfort from their six-week-old baby son Brian.
Ania Cicha, 19, who hails from Poland but today lives in Walker Street, Hoole, is coming to terms with losing her beloved Karol Kunicki, 34, who came off his 125cc machine on Hoole bridge while returning home on the evening of Sunday, February 22.
A fellow Pole, Karol had been to visit a Polish friend, a tattoo artist, who had just tattooed baby Brian’s name on his neck and tragically sold him the red Peugeot scooter involved in the fatal incident, leading to injuries from which he died in the Countess of Chester Hospital shortly afterwards.
Recalling that contrasting happy day at the Countess when their son was born just a few weeks earlier, Ania said: “I was really tired but Karol was really happy. It was important for him because he already had a nine-year-old daughter Nadia from a previous relationship and then he had a son.”
The couple decided to name their son Brian because it means ‘strong’ in recognition that he survived for 27 hours in her womb after her waters had broken.
Ania said Karol’s daughter, who also lives in Chester, is devastated because unlike Brian she understands what has happened. And despite the cruel tragedy that Brian will never know his father, Ania takes comfort in the fact her loved one will live on in him.
“He (Brian) is two people in one. I can see Karol in Brian. Like I’ve said, maybe I’ve lost his body but I’ve still got his heart and I know he will always be with me and he will look after us,” she said.
“It’s a really bad time for me because I’ve lost someone who I was dreaming about. I was dreaming about having a family and I had it for a minute and I lost the person I really, really loved. We had a plan to get married in August of this year as well.”
Ania said Karol, who had been in the UK for nine years, loved this country because he had left all his troubles in Poland behind and had started a new life.
Lately he had been working as a chef at the Brookside Hotel in Newton and occasionally at the Siam Thai and Teppan-yaki restaurant in City Road. Previously he cooked at The Faulkner in Hoole and the Ring O’Bells in Christleton as well as The Premier Inn, Piccolino and Bella Italia in the city centre.
“He was an amazing chef,” said Ania, who moved to Chester, aged just 16 or 17, where she met Karol on her first day because he was staying in Hoole Road with her father where they were initially just housemates. Smiling, she recalled: “He tried to help everyone and he loved kids. He was a big kid himself!”
Ania, who is being comforted by her parents and her two brothers and two sisters who all live in Chester, said Karol had lost both his parents and had only recently been reconciled with his brother who lives in London. Karol had desperately wanted him to attend their wedding.
The family are really grateful to the Chester community for their kindness at this most traumatic time. Catholic priests based in a retirement home in the former Green Bough Hotel in Hoole, where Karol recently cooked for a week, are also supporting them.
Ania feels sorry for the friend who sold Karol the scooter because he believes the accident is ‘his fault’ even though she has tried to tell him he did nothing wrong. “Because you don’t know what will be,” added Ania, who said Karol had a provisional licence.
“Two weeks before I said Karol, I know the motor scooter is your dream and I said on your 35th birthday I will buy a scooter for you but first you must go to some class. He said ‘Oh, OK’ but two weeks later he had information that his friend had a scooter for sale.”
Karol’s funeral will take place here in Chester in line with his expressed wishes in the event of his death. The service will take place at Blacon Crematorium next Wednesday but the time is not yet known.
His close friend Astillero Juan, from Belgium, who was head chef at The Faulkner when Karol was his sous chef, has been collecting funds towards the funeral costs and so far raised more than £2,000. “He was a really popular guy,” said Astillero.
Any witnesses to the collision are asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 610 of February 22, 2015.