A HGV driver has been found not guilty of manslaughter and murder after the death of his ‘best friend’ in Runcorn.

Rafal Seremak was acquitted of the charges by a jury at Chester Crown Court last Friday.

The panel of six women and six men came back with a unanimous verdict, clearing 45-year-old Seremak of the unlawful killing of Miroslaw Iwaniuk on August 4, 2021.

On the day of Iwaniuk’s death, the 50-year-old Polish national was taken to Warrington Hospital where he was pronounced dead following an altercation on Astmoor Industrial Estate in Runcorn.

The trucker died from traumatic back and neck injury with cardiomegaly, meaning an enlarged heart.

During the trial, jurors were told how Seremak, a Polish national of no fixed abode, ‘saw red’ during ‘horseplay’ with his colleague and friend.

Prosecutor John Benson, QC, told the court how the deceased became the target of ‘ribaldry and fun’ and how he was ‘goaded by Semerak as his head was rubbed and he was poked in the face.

Iwaniuk could be seen on CCTV pushing Semerak with one hand before he was then approached by him and handed a vape - which Mr Benson described as 'distraction' to 'put him off guard'.

As he put the vape in his mouth, Semerak put one of his arms behind the victim’s while putting his leg behind his and pushed him over.

Iwaniuk then fell back against the wall before being pinned to the ground face down by Semerak.

The jurors were told how Semerak then put his arms around the victim’s neck in a headlock and maintained grip for around 40 seconds.

Iwaniuk then became motionless and was unconscious - and never gained consciousness.

Seven minute later, there were then some physical efforts to revive the deceased Iwaniuk, including slapping him on the back and putting him in a seated position.

He then made a call to 112, the European emergency number, but wasn't connected to the ambulance service so made a call to 999 and an ambulance arrived around 10 minutes later.

Chester Crown Court heard when ambulances and paramedics arrived, Iwaniuk was in a 'critical condition' and 'cardiac arrest'.

He was taken to Warrington Hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 11pm.

Semerak later told officers how Semerak and him were the ‘best of friends’ and how he was a pleasant and smiley man who wore his heart on his sleeve.

He also said he had spent time with Iwankiuk's family in Poland last year.

Semerak said how the victim had an issue with another trucker over monetary contributions and thought one of his colleagues was ‘looking to cause problems’ which sparked a mood in the restroom.

The defendant described the victim as ‘aggressive’ and said he wanted to beat his colleague up.

He said that when he asked Iwaniuk why he wanted to beat the colleague up, he jumped off the wall and headed towards him which ‘scared him’.

Semerak said he put his leg behind him to stop him and didn’t mean for him to fall to the ground.

He also told officers how he lay on top of him to stop him from getting up and said ‘if you calm down, I will let you go’.

Mr Benson said: “He said that Iwaniuk was his mate and that he did not try to strangle him.

“He said when he did not get up he thought that he was playing around by not moving.”

The trial opened on July 18.