Thursday 20 September 2018

Wife of murder victim Mikolaj Wilk set to accompany his body to Poland

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE body of murdered gardener Mikolaj Wilk (35) is expected to be repatriated to his native Poland within 48 hours.

Mr Wilk's wife, Elzbieta, and his two children, are also set to fly home to Poland within 24 hours to make funeral arrangements for the father who was brutally murdered by a four-man gang on June 10.

Friends indicated that Mrs Wilk - who was also seriously injured by the gang who killed her husband - is unlikely to return to Ireland in the immediate future.

She is expected to remain in Poland where she will be supported and comforted by extended family.

The move came as Gardaí continued an exhaustive technical examination of a number of vehicles seized in raids across Cork yesterday as they 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 yesterday as part of a coordinated operation. Following on from these searches, a total of nine vehicles were seized. 

All are currently being forensically examined by Garda technical experts to see if there is any link to the brutal killing of the Polish father outside Ballincollig on June 10. Several vehicles have been taken to Dublin for expert analysis.

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.

It is understood that the seven properties searched by Gardaí include six houses and one industrial property. No arrests have been made.

Gardaí sources said they are making "steady but significant progress" in the brutal murder of the young father of two. Mr Wilk, who ran a successful gardening business in Cork, was hacked to death with machetes by a four man gang who attacked him at his home at Bridge House, Maglin outside Ballincollig at 3am on June 10.

Gardaí acknowledged the killing was one of the most brutal ever witnessed in Cork. Mr Wilk was killed in front of his horrified wife, Elzbieta, and his two children. 

Mrs Wilk was also seriously assaulted. She 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 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 personal 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 - and, in particular, a taxi driver who is believed to have dropped a number of female passengers shortly before midnight on June 9.

Detectives have interviewed the women involved and believe the driver may have spotted vehicle movements in the area.

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 €20,000.

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