Family's hope for justice as arrests are made over death of Brit
EXCLUSIVE: ‘He walked in sober and was dead within two hours’: Family’s hope for justice as arrests are made over death of Brit who was forced to drink 22 shots at Polish strip club ‘that robbed customers’
- Mark Cocks, 36, died of alcohol poisoning in 2017 after being plied with 22 shots
- Now, Polish police have arrested seven people in Poland over the Briton’s death
The family of a British tourist who was forced to drink 22 shots in a Polish strip club have revealed he died within two hours of entering the venue.
Mark Cocks, 36, died of alcohol poisoning in October 2017 after being plied with scores of shots at the Wild Night club in Krakow, leaving his parents Graham and Pat devastated.
Now it has emerged that seven people have been arrested in connection with his death after prosecutors in the city opened an investigation into what happened.
Police believe those arrested were part of an organised crime gang behind a series of deaths of foreigners who were allegedly drugged and robbed at the notorious club.
Cocks, a Leeds United fan from Loftus in Teeside, Yorkshire, had been ‘lured’ into the club with a friend before being given nearly two powerful shots before he collapsed and died.
‘When Mark passed away in 2017 it was such a massive shock for all of us and it hit everyone so hard because he was so well liked,’ a member of the family who asked not to be named told MailOnline.
An inquest returned a verdict of accidental death due to alcohol poisoning, but no criminal charges were brought and Cocks’ family have been trying to seek justice over his death for over six years.
Mark Cocks, 36, (pictured) died of alcohol poisoning in 2017 after being plied with scores of shots at the Wild Night club in Krakow
Cocks, a Leeds United fan from Loftus in Teeside, Yorkshire, had been ‘lured’ into the strip club (the interior of the club is pictured) with a friend before being given nearly two powerful shots before he collapsed and died
Strippers at the Wild Night club in Krakow are pictured inside the establishment, which has since closed
A GV of the building in Krakow’s Old Town that used to host the fraudulent Wild Nights club
Polish police had claimed Cocks had been drunk when he entered the strip club, but his family said this was not true.
After Cocks collapsed, staff at the club robbed him of PLN 2,200 (£420) in cash, according to the Polish authorities.
Cocks’ family member added: ‘We really want to know what happened to Mark because it was awful. It was the first bar he and his friend went to that day and within two hours of going in he had died.
‘He was sober before he went in and they made him drink as part of the scam and robbed him as well. If what happened to Mark saves a life and acts as a warning then that’s a positive outcome.
‘This happens to hundreds of British men who go over there, they are scammed by people who get them drunk and then rob their cards and money.
‘It’s terrible but we know nothing of these arrests and are trying to find out more.’
Polish prosecutors said in 2017 that Cocks had been ‘led into a deep state of intoxication combined with loss of consciousness’.
They added: ‘Acute poisoning with ethyl alcohol led to the concentration in the victim’s body and urine, as a result of which the man died.
‘Mark C. came to Krakow with his friend for tourist purposes. The men were tempted by the free entry to the premises offered by the ‘beater’.
‘After entering the club at 4 pm, the men were separated and Mark C. was taken to the so-called a private room.
‘Then, between 4.28 pm and 6.08 pm, despite the already visible and significant state of intoxication and despite his attempts to refuse to consume alcohol, the club staff gave the victim unordered 22 portions of high-proof alcohol.’
The seven people who have now been arrested for being part of an organised criminal gang also emptied Cocks’ bank account.
Prosecutors said: ‘The staff deprived him not only of money, but above all of his life.’
Following Cocks’ death, his family have been trying to warn other tourists to avoid the strip club, which has now closed.
His sister Samantha commented on the club’s review page: ‘My brother’s death in this vile establishment needs to be made aware of!’
Another woman claiming to be Cocks’ aunt commented: ‘Dodgy b******s, they are scum, it was my nephew who died in this bar.
‘They fleeced him out of five transactions totalling £760, separated from his friend, then told his friend ‘your mates dead’.’
Polish police raided night clubs and arrested suspects last year during an investigation into an organised criminal group extorting money from customers at nightclubs
The club was raided last year along with 20 others nationwide in a crackdown following widespread complaints from ripped off customers who said they had been ‘drugged and robbed’. Pictured: A suspect
Polish police officers raided a series of strip clubs in Krakow as part of an investigation into an organised criminal gang
Others on TripAdviser have also warned others of going to the Wild Nights strip club.
User Frantz warned: ‘Stay away from this place. In short, we were pepper sprayed by security and badly beaten. The women tried to rob us for money.’
Another user, Lars, claimed he and his brother were spiked at the club. He said: ‘When my brother paid, they added an extra zero to his bill turning it to £470 from £47.
‘He said it was way too much and instead of getting his money back he got kicked out.’
MailOnline has contacted the UK Foreign Office for comment.
The arrests come after four other club employees, three women and a man were also arrested.
The club was raided last year along with 20 others nationwide in a crackdown following widespread complaints from ripped off customers who said they had been ‘drugged and robbed’.
Footage released by Polish police showed how officers stormed the club, apprehending suspects and confiscating computers, cash and phones.
In the same year as Cocks’s death, a Turkish man also died in a strip bar owned by the same company in Wrocław after downing five drinks in 20 minutes.
When he refused to drink any more, CCTV footage shows that a dancer forcibly poured two more glasses into his mouth.
The man collapsed to the floor, and eventually stopped breathing.
Meanwhile, a Scottish man said he popped into the Krakow joint for a beer and, after backing out, found his credit card had been stripped of nearly £1,000.
Polish police raided night clubs and arrested suspects last year during an investigation into an organised criminal group
Picture shows the monitoring centre in one of the strip clubs that was raided last year
Investigators previously explained how the organised web of clubs would rob their customers after getting them drunk and often fleeced them out of money.
The Polish Central Police Investigation Bureau (CBSP) said in a statement that they have filed over 700 criminal charges against the organised criminal group.
They said the clubs ran a racket where they systematically got punters drunk before robbing them.
Some were even persuaded to take out loans to cover ‘debts’ run up by the fraudsters.
Authorities this week said they had finally arrested the group who forced Mark to drink himself to death.
They also said: ‘The man was not given medical assistance during the incident. Provisional arrests were made against those suspected of this act.’
The investigators also said that ‘CBSP police officers detained another seven people suspected of robberies and fraud on customers of go-go-clubs.
‘There are already 58 suspects in the case.’
The statement also said: ‘The officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation of the Police are conducting an investigation into an organised criminal group extorting money from customers of go-go nightclubs.
‘According to the findings of the investigators, the activities of the group were aimed at committing crimes to the detriment of club customers by leading them to a state of deprivation of awareness and perception […].
Polish police raided a series of strip clubs in Poland last year and arrested dozens of suspects
Picture shows the monitoring centre in one of the strip clubs that was raided last year
‘The perpetrators, taking advantage of the mental and physical condition of the victims, made payment transactions using payment cards or other financial instruments for goods and services allegedly offered in the club.
‘In some cases, through electronic banking, on devices owned by customers, loans were also allowed to be taken or deposits or savings accounts were closed, and the funds accumulated there were transferred to the accounts of companies operating clubs.’
The statement continued: ‘To the persons detained during the recent activities, the Prosecutor presented allegations of participation in an organised crime group, committing robberies and fraud to the detriment of clients of clubs from Krakow and Warsaw, among other charges. They include e.g. leading or participating in an organized criminal group.
‘In the case, 31 arrests were also applied, property sureties in the amount of almost PLN 1.6 million [GBP 305,000] and property with a total value of over PLN 6.8 million [GBP 1.3] was secured,’ the statement concluded.
Following Cocks’ death, his family paid tribute to the 36-year-old, who they described as ‘always happy and upbeat’.
His mother Pat told Teesside Live in 2017: ‘Everybody loved Mark, he was really the life and soul. He was always happy and upbeat, and positive.
‘He didn’t have a bad word about anyone, and nobody had a bad word about him.’
‘Mark was supposed to walk me down the aisle when I get married next year,’ Pat said at the time. ‘He’ll be missed so much by everyone.’
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