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Saturday 19 January 2019

Gardaí look at grudge motive in machete killing of 'quiet and hard-working' father

Inquiries into horror murder spread overseas

Elzbieta and Mikołaj Wilk
Elzbieta and Mikołaj Wilk
A girl lays flowers at the house near Ballincollig where Mikolaj Wilk was killed. Photo: Frank McGrath
Polish chaplain for Cork Fr Piotr Galus. Picture: Frank McGrath

Tom Brady, Ryan Nugent and Robin Schiller

Gardaí are investigating if a gang that broke into a Polish gardener's home and hacked him to death in front of his wife did so over a personal grudge.

An extensive investigation is continuing into the brutal murder of Mikolaj Wilk, who died after being attacked by a gang of up to four men at his home in Ballincollig, Co Cork.

The gang did not steal anything from Mr Wilk's property, indicating that burglary wasn't the motive behind the crime.

Gardaí are continuing to make inquiries into Mr Wilk's background, but he was not known to gardaí and at this stage there is nothing to suggest he was linked to criminality.

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
Gardai at the house in Maglin, Ballincollig, where Mikolaj Wilk was killed and his partner Elzbieta seriously injured

Instead, detectives are examining if the murder was carried out over a personal grudge.

Officers are interviewing members of the Polish community in Cork to determine if Mr Wilk felt he was under threat in recent weeks or had been involved in a row with others.

Gardaí are extending their inquiries overseas in a bid to find a motive for his horrific murder. Detectives are also planning to make contact with Polish police to examine if there were any links in his home country that could help pinpoint the reason for the savage attack on the father of two.

A post-mortem examination by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster in Cork University Hospital yesterday confirmed that Mr Wilk (35) had suffered a multitude of slash wounds to his head and body that resulted in his death within two hours of the attack.

His wife Elzbieta (33) was slashed mainly in the hands and also in the face as she tried to protect herself from the machete attack, and she had tendons severed in several fingers. She has undergone surgery for her hand wounds.

It is believed another woman who was staying in the house managed to escape through a window and hide outside during the attack.

Yesterday, following a technical examination of a BMW three-series car, found burnt out 6km from the murder scene, gardaí found a firearm. This has been sent for further examination.

Gardaí have also begun examining footage collected from CCTV cameras on the road between the family's bungalow home in Maglin, Ballincollig, and the location of the car at Iniskenny, Ballinora, Waterfall, Co Cork. Investigators have renewed their appeal to motorists who may have been travelling that road between 2am and 4am on Sunday, and either spotted the BMW or spotted a group of men acting suspiciously, to contact them.

A close friend of the family, Aga Deryng, remained at Ms Wilk's bedside yesterday morning. Ms Deryng said the Polish community was terrified. "She is [heartbroken], you can't describe it. But at least all of us can be here and support her as much as we can," she told 'Cork Today' on C103 radio.

"We're trying to stay with her at all times and not to let her be alone with her own thoughts because you don't want to know what's going through her head."

Ms Deryng said the family had been living in Ireland for around 12 years and the two children were four and five years old. "This was their home, but I don't think it's going to be any more, we're all terrified now," she said.

"They are a wonderful family, Mikolaj was a generous, great, great, helpful man with a very warm heart."

It is understood Ms Wilk intends on moving her family back to Poland in the near future so that they can be with her family.

Following surgery, she is now back in her room at Cork University Hospital and fully aware of the horrific events that took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, and that her husband is dead.

She is bandaged up and has a cast around her arm and hand.

A Gofundme page was set up by Ms Deryng for the family and had by last night raised more than €6,000.

Polish chaplain for Cork Fr Piotr Galus has been living in the city for 12 years and said the Polish community was shocked by what could only be described as a "savage attack".

"Everybody is asking 'are we safe?'," he said.

"We've heard of gangs attacking other gangs, but never somebody coming to a house and attacking a family," he added.

A special Mass for the family will be held in Cork city tomorrow night and another will take place in Ballincollig on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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