UK: Tributes are flooding in for a tragic chef who died in a collision while riding home from having a tattoo of his newly-born baby's name put on his neck.
Karol Kunicki, 34, who lived in Hoole with his fiancee and their month-old baby son, had recently completed the basic training needed to drive the a 125cc scooter which he is believed to have purchased from a friend just prior to the fatal accident.
His red Peugeot scooter was in collision with a bridge about 6.30pm on Sunday, February 22 and he died later in hospital.
Karol, from Poland, was chef at the Brookside Hotel in Newton, and lived with his 19-year-old fiancee Ania, who only gave birth to their son Brian on January 18 and is said be ‘in bits’, the Chester Chronicle reports.
Ania posted on Facebook in both English and Polish: “I lost your body but still have your heart, my love. I really love you and I can’t believe it. RIP.”
Close friend Astillero Juan, from Belgium, was head chef at The Faulkner when Karol was his sous chef and the pair became firm friends.
His said his pal was returning from having his son Brian’s name put on his neck by a friend, who is a tattoo artist, when tragedy struck.
“He was going back home to show his girlfriend,” explained Astillero, who said the couple wanted to give their baby an English name.
“He was so proud of being in England and being part of the English community.
"He wanted his son to be English because England had treated him so well.”
Astillero understands his friend, who visited him at his West Kirby home three days ago, had bought the scooter earlier on Sunday from a friend who now feels awful.
“Karol told me ‘I have my driving licence now’. It had been raining and he’s very skinny and there’s no weight to him.”
“He was a lovely guy, a genuine guy,” said Astillero, who said his friend, who had been in the UK for about nine years, also had a daughter, believed to be seven or eight-years-old, by his ex-wife who also lives in Chester.
Richard Mansel-Edwards, general manager of The Brookside Hotel, where Karol worked, explained that his small team, which includes Ania’s mum and a step-auntie, we're absolutely devastated.
He described Karol, who began working for him last June, as ‘irreplacable’.
He said: “He was a very valued member of our team. He was superb. He had good manners, was respectful to everybody, just a true gentleman.”
“He bought me a pen with my name on it at Christmas. It was a token gesture but it meant so much.
"We all send each other Christmas cards but he bought something for everybody. He was so good-hearted.
“He was the sweetest, gentlest, most hard-working, charismatic person,” added the manager, who said the quality of his food was ‘phenomenal’.
“He took great care with everything he did. He will be very sadly missed.”
Richard said he could not begin to imagine what his partner Ania ‘must be going through’.
“She’s in bits,” he added.
“He left work about midday yesterday. I believe he had been visiting friends when the accident happened and was on his way home,” added the manager.
“I just can’t believe he wasn’t in this morning.”
Karol had cooked for retired catholic priests based in the former Green Bough Hotel in Hoole because of a connection through Richard’s business partner and they had also ‘loved him’.
The priests are now comforting the family.
Cheshire Police are appealing for witnesses following the fatal collision.
A spokesman said: “The driver, a 34 year old man from the Chester area, sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Countess of Chester, where unfortunately he passed away.”
Anyone with information in relation to the collision is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 610 of February 22, 2015.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.