Monday 16 September 2019

Father (35) died after machete-wielding gang of four attacked him at his home in front of his family, inquest hears

Elzbieta and Mikołaj Wilk
Elzbieta and Mikołaj Wilk

Ralph Riegel

A POLISH father of two died from horrific stab injuries after being attacked by a machete-wielding gang at his home in front of his terrified wife and children.

The revelation came as the inquest into the death of gardener Mikolaj Wilk (35) was adjourned on the application of Gardaí as their murder investigation remains ongoing.

Cork Coroner Dr Philip Comyn adjourned the inquest after hearing evidence of the gruesome injuries suffered by Mr Wilk when he was subjected to a frenzied attack by a masked gang at his Cork home last June.

Mr Wilk was subjected to a prolonged assault at his home at Bridge House, Maglin outside Ballincollig at 3am on June 10 last.

A masked gang of up to four men forced their way into the property and attacked Mr Wilk while his terrified wife and two children were also present.

Amongst the weapons believed to have been used to attack the Polish gardener was a machete.

A girl lays flowers at the house near Ballincollig where Mikolaj Wilk was killed. Photo: Frank McGrath
A girl lays flowers at the house near Ballincollig where Mikolaj Wilk was killed. Photo: Frank McGrath

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the inquest Mr Wilk suffered multiple injuries.

She conducted a full post mortem examination on Mr Wilk at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on June 11 last.

"The cause of death was haemorrhage and shock due to multiple blows with a sharp weapon in association with a traumatic brain injury," she said.

Det Inspector Vincent O'Sullivan applied to Dr Comyn for the inquest to be adjourned until April 4 next.

"This is a live (Garda) investigation," he said.

"There are several areas of investigation ongoing."

Dr Comyn listed the inquest for mention next April when it is expected to be further adjourned.

Mr Wilk's wife, Elzbieta, and his two children, have since returned to their native Poland.

Mrs Wilk had also suffered serious injuries in the June 10 attack.

Last July, Gardaí conducted an exhaustive technical examination of a number of vehicles seized in raids across Cork as part of the hunt for the killers of Mr Wilk.

Detectives are focused on whether a Cork-based gang committed the savage killing at the behest of an East European criminal organisation who may have held some personal grudge against Mr Wilk.

The gang, based in the Baltic states, are feared for their brutality.

One garda source said between eight and ten people may have been involved - several of whom are feared to have fled Ireland within 24 hours of Mr Wilk's killing.

A total of seven properties were raided by Gardaí in the greater Cork area as part of a co-ordinated operation.

Following on from these searches, a total of nine vehicles were seized for forensic examination.

Gardaí were specifically looking for any blood or DNA link to Mr Wilk as the brutality of his murder meant his killers left the property soaked in blood.

The seven properties searched by Gardaí include six houses and one industrial property.

No arrests have so far been made.

Gardaí sources said they are making "steady but significant progress" in the savage murder of the young father of two.

Gardaí acknowledged the killing was one of the most brutal ever witnessed in Cork.

Mrs Wilk underwent surgery for tendon damage in one of her hands after being cut with a machete as she tried to protect herself and her children.

The young mother also suffered head and facial injuries.

Her children were unharmed but left deeply traumatised.

A woman who was renting a room in the house was unhurt and was able to flee the property.

A short time later, a getaway car used by the gang was discovered burned out in the Waterfall area.

The sheer savagery of Mr Wilk's murder has baffled detectives.

A key theory now being examined by Gardaí is whether Mr Wilk was targeted by a criminal gang with international links over some kind of person grudge.

Gardaí are trying to clarify if Mr Wilk may unwittingly have offended a gang through his business operations in the gardening/horticultural area - or whether he may have borrowed money from the wrong people.

They are also investigating if the savage manner in which the Polish father of two was killed was intended as a warning to others.

Detectives are now trawling CCTV security camera footage from properties around Ballincollig though the rural nature of where Mr Wilk lived has meant there is now footage of the actual area itself.

Gardaí are also examining Mr Wilk's phone records and business transactions for any clue as to who may have held a grudge against him.

As part of their investigation, Gardai have conducted checkpoints around the Ballincollig area to determine if anyone saw or heard anything suspicious on June 9/10 last.

Detectives are trying to track down motorists who travelled in the Maglin area at the time.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gurranabraher Gardaí on (021) 4946200.

A Special GoFundMe appeal set up to assist the Wilk family has already raised more than €25,000.

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