Friday 23 August 2019

Woman who stalked her teacher had plans to slit his throat 'and still does'

Agnes Miroslawska (l) and the school in Claudy (R)
Agnes Miroslawska (l) and the school in Claudy (R)
Agnes Miroslawska

A young woman who stalked and threatened to kill her former teacher wanted to slit his throat, a court has heard.

Agnes Miroslawska was yesterday sentenced for carrying out the campaign of terror against Co Derry secondary school teacher Brian Rainey. The court heard that the 20-year-old told prison staff that she had brought a knife to school but was stopped from using it by staff.

The Crown prosecutor told the court Miroslawska had gone to her former school and had found out where Mr Rainey lived in the village of Claudy.

She then went to his home where the teacher’s partner answered a call at the front door. She spoke to Miroslawska and told her she could not see him, and closed the door.

Moments later loud bangs were heard from the front window of the house.

Miroslawska was then observed lying on the ground in front of the house, obviously intoxicated. It was believed she had thrown stones at the teacher’s home.

Later, on remanded custody at Hydebank, she told prison officers she had brought a knife to the Claudy school with the intention of slitting her former teacher’s throat.

She said the only reason she didn’t was because other staff members stopped her.

She told officers she had “images of killing him” in her head, and repeated that she intended to kill her teacher, adding: “I really want to murder someone”. She also admitted sending threatening Facebook messages to Mr Rainey.

After remand she returned to Derry, but continued sending Facebook messages, the court heard.

Agnes Miroslawska
Agnes Miroslawska

Police arrested her on the new charges, and she told an officer: “I want to kill him still. He destroyed my life.”

In another interview when asked if she still wanted to kill her former teacher, she said: “It’s very tempting. It’s still a possibility.”

Miroslawska, who moved to Northern Ireland when she was 12 years old, previously made headlines in 2013 after she was convicted on multiple charges of disorderly behaviour and assaulting police.

She was reported to have told officers she was going to burn down every police station in Northern Ireland, and said she “couldn’t wait until a police officer got shot”.

At Ards Magistrates Court yesterday, Miroslawska, of Lisnavar Court, Derry, faced sentencing on charges she threatened to kill her former secondary school teacher Brian Rainey between January 9 and April 26 last year, and harassed him between September 1, 2013, and April 26 last year. The matter had been deferred from last year for her to prove good behaviour, and avoid contact with the teacher. Her lawyer said she had abided by the court.

Ards District Judge Mark Hamill questioned the latest charges being disposed at the magistrates level.

He said the accused’s record was “one of the most extraordinary” he had ever seen, as every previous charge had resulted in immediate custody.

The judge added: “There wasn’t the slightest attempt to explore non-custodial options.”

Miroslawska’s lawyer explained that her offending had started while she was in accommodation run by the mental health charity Praxis, and while on remanded custody the organisation withdrew support as a bail address.

The lawyer said she stayed in remanded custody, and all subsequent convictions were dealt with on a ‘time-served’ basis.

The lawyer said Miroslawska, who appeared in court with a counsellor, had volunteered for work with the probation service since her period of offending, adding: “There has been a sea-change in her behaviour since support mechanisms have been provided.”

Judge Hamill said: “The point of this court is to protect her victim.

“If I thought prison would help I would give it to her in a heartbeat.

“I could give her eight months at this level, and she would be out in four — which would not help the victim in any way.”

The judge ordered a fresh restraining order, forbidding her to enter the village of Claudy, and forbidding any contact with her former teacher, to last for five years. He also gave her two years’ probation.

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