Friday 20 April 2018

Man who carried out late-night violent sex attacks on three women to be sentenced in May

Slawomir Gierlowski (33) found guilty of attacking the women in 2011 and 2015 at locations around Clondalkin in south Dublin
Slawomir Gierlowski (33) found guilty of attacking the women in 2011 and 2015 at locations around Clondalkin in south Dublin

Declan Brennan

A roofer who carried out random and violent attacks on three women over a five-year period will be sentenced in May.

Slawomir Gierlowski (33) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin had denied attacking the women in 2011, 2015 and 2016 at locations around Clondalkin in south Dublin.

The most recent attack took place on Knockmeenagh Lane, Clondalkin, Dublin, not far from the other two attacks and near a house occupied by the family of Gierlowski's partner. The women cannot be identified for legal reasons.

After a three week trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury of eleven men today found Gierlowski guilty of carrying out the 2016 attack. The jury had deliberated for just under five hours in total, returning guilty verdicts in relation to the earlier offences on Thursday afternoon.

All verdicts were unanimous. Judge Pauline Codd thanked the jurors and praised the “assiduous” work carried out by the gardaí investigating the three crimes.

She said the cases were handled with sensitivity. She also commended the three complainants for the strength and courage shown by each of them in giving evidence during the trial.

Gierlowski, a Polish national who has lived and worked in Ireland since 2008, sat impassively as the verdicts were delivered. He has been in custody since his arrest in June 2016 as a suspect for the attack the previous month.

Judge Codd remanded him in continuing custody until May 14 next for a sentence hearing. The court ordered a prison governor's report for Gierlowski and victim impact reports for that date.

The trial heard that Gierlowski carried out all three attacks on young women using a similar modus operandi.

The first attack took place late at night on September 11, 2011. Gierlowski attacked the victim as she was walking home from a night out, dragging her to the ground and sexually assaulting her. She managed to get away from him but he caught her and began punching her repeatedly around the face.

On September 3, 2015, a second woman was walking home late at night when Gierlowski came up behind her and put a leather belt around her neck and began pulling backwards.

He pulled her to the ground and then wrapped duct tape around her face and hands before sexually assaulting her.

The third attack was carried out in broad daylight on the early morning of May 16, 2016. The victim was walking along Knockmeenagh Lane to the nearby Luas stop when Gierlowski, armed with a hunting knife, put his arm around her neck and began to pull her backwards.

This woman told the court that she thought Gierlowski was going to slit her throat and she grabbed the blade to stop that happening, causing the knife to cut tendons in three of her fingers. She managed to get out from under the knife and began screaming and Gierlowski ran off.

Gierlowski was identified after detectives used CCTV cameras to track a white Volkswagen Crafter van spotted near the scene of the 2016 attack back to Galtymore road, where Gierlowski lives.

In addition, detectives used a wild card search of a partial registration provided by neighbours had seen the van parked in the area to identify the van as one registered to Gierlowski.

After his arrest, gardaí matched Gierlowski's DNA to blood and semen samples taken from the two earlier crime scenes. Tests on blood traces on a jacket seized by gardai from Gierlowski's bedroom in June 2016 found it was the third victim's blood.

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