Monday 20 May 2019

Gardaí prepare DPP file in machete death case

Three questioned and released over Ballincollig father-of-two murder

Gardaí are to prepare a file for the DPP after releasing without charge two men and a woman arrested last week for questioning about the murder of a father of two who was hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang in front of his wife and children in Mid-Cork last year.

Detectives arrested the first of the trio, a 35-year-old man at a house in the Mayfield area of Cork's northside early on Wednesday, April 10 and brought him to Togher Garda Station for questioning about the murder of Polish national, Mikolaj Wilk at his home near Ballincollig on June 10, 2018.

The man, who is from Knocknaheeny on Cork's Northside and had recently returned from the UK, was detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act which allows gardaí to detain suspects for up to seven days but he was released around 10.30pm on Sunday without charge after five days in custody.

A garda spokesman said that gardaí will now prepare a file on the man's involvement in the killing of Mr Wilk as well as the involvements of a 29-year-old Latvian man arrested in Blackpool on April 10 and a 33-year-old Irish woman arrested in Mayfield on April 12 who were both also released without charge.

These recent arrests bring to six in total the number of people arrested by gardaí investigating Mr Wilk's murder and they follow the arrests on January 22 last of two Poles and a Latvian, all in their 30s, at two separate locations in Ballincollig and a third location in Togher on the south side of Cork city.

All three arrested in January were arrested on suspicion of facilitating and support an organised crime gang whom gardaí suspect were behind Mr Wilk's murder and they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act before later being released without charge.

Earlier this month at Cork City Coroner's Court, Sgt Fergus Twomey applied under the Coroner's Act for an adjournment of the inquest into Mr Wilk's death, telling Cork City Coroner, Philip Comyn that the investigation remained "live, active and ongoing".

Mr Wilk was seriously injured when he was attacked by a machete-wielding gang when they broke into the house he shared with his wife, Elzbeta and their two young children at Maglin near Ballincollig and he was later rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where he died soon after.

Mr Wilk's inquest was first opened on November 1 last year when Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster said Mr Wilk had died from shock and haemorrhage due to multiple blows from sharp weapons in association with a traumatic brain injury.

Garda sources have confirmed to The Corkman that gardai have mounted an extensive investigation into the killing of Mr Wilk with gardaí taking over 300 witness statements and harvesting and viewing over 2,000 hours of CCTV footage at an incident room in Ballincollig Garda Station.

Late last June, Gardaí carried out searches at six houses in Ballincollig, Ballinhassig, Grenagh and Blackpool, as well as a car sales business where it is believed Mr Wilk's killers bought a BMW which was found on fire in nearby Waterfall on the night of the killing.

Nine vehicles, including two vans which were seized at the seven premises, were sent by gardai for technical examination and it's understood that the searches and seizures of vehicles also stemmed from an examination of Mr Wilk's phone records and email records to see who he was in contact with.

Gardai have remained tight-lipped about their investigation but privately several have expressed confidence that they will solve the killing which, experienced officers described as one of the most violent that they had ever seen in Cork.

However, officers have refused to be drawn on a motive for the killing and say that they have found no evidence to suggest that Mr Wilk was involved in any criminal activity.

It is understood that their focus is on a foreign criminal gang from Eastern Europe with local Irish support.