A man who shot his two-year-old son with an air gun before stabbing and smothering him to death with a pillow has been jailed for life.

41-year-old Lukasz Czapla was found guilty of his son Julius Czapla's murder following a trial at the High court in Edinburgh on Wednesday. The court heard that the man "acted out of spite to kill the child to get back at his mother."

He has been given a life sentence and will serve at least 23 years in prison. The court heard that the man first shot the toddler in the head with an air gun. When the child woke up after getting hit by the gun, Czapla stabbed him with a skewer and smothered him with a pillow.

The incident took place in November 2020, when the boy had gone to stay with his father at Muirhouse in Edinburgh. The boy's parents had been separated for two months by then.

The court added that Czapla's actions were an act of "revenge and jealousy," because his former partner was in a new relationship.

In a statement following the verdict, the boy's mother Patrycja Szczesniak said that she had never thought that Czapla could do something like this to his own son.

"Despite the breakup with Julius's dad, I wanted him to have contact with our son. I never stopped him seeing Julius. Julek loved him like every child loves their dad. He trusted him, he trusted him completely," she said, according to the Daily Mail.

"Julius was murdered only for revenge. His dad wanted me to suffer, he succeeded and achieved his goal, at the cost of my beloved little boy's life," she added.

Czapla, who used to work as an IT technician, had tried to plead guilty to culpable homicide, claiming diminished responsibility, but the prosecutors decline his plea. The two-week hearing ended with the jury unanimously finding Czapla guilty of murder.

Crime Scene
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON