Tuesday 25 June 2019

Gardai renew appeal for help after horrific machete murder

Bill Browne

Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information about the brutal murder of a Polish man who was savagely attacked by a gang who burst into his Ballincollig home.

Mikolaj Wilk (35) was attacked by a gang of up to four men in his rented home at the Bridge House, Maglin, Ballincollig at around 3.20am on Sunday morning. Mr Wilk, who was also known as Nick, was taken to Cork University Hospital (CUH), but died at around 5.30am from the horrific injuries he sustained during the attack. 

Mr Wilk's wife, Elzbieta, sustained serious injuries to her arms, hand and fingers during the attack and is recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery. 

It is understood that the couple's children, aged four and five, witnessed the attack but were unharmed. Relatives of Mrs Wilk have flown to Ireland to take care of the children. 

A second woman, who it is believed was renting a room in the house, escaped uninjured though a window of the bungalow and ran to a neighbour's house for help. 

Officers, who arrived on the scene within minutes, found the couple in the blood-soaked hallway of the house and administered first aid until paramedics arrived. 

While specific details of a post mortem examination on Monday have not been released for operational reasons it is understood they indicated he died from multiple injuries, including stab wounds.  Shortly after the attack Gardaí found a BMW car believed to have been used by the attackers at Ballinora, Inniskenny, Waterfall, approximately 6km from the Wilk's home. 

A firearm was recovered from the suspected getaway vehicle and has been sent for further forensic examination. Mr Wilk, who ran a successful gardening business in Ballincollig, was not known to Gardaí, who have yet to establish a motive for the attack.

One possible line of investigation is that the attack may have involved a personal grudge, given that no items were stolen from the Wilk's home. It is also understood that the attackers may have had Cork accents. 

They have conducted door-to-door enquiries in the Ballincollig area and are reviewing CCTV footage shot in the area between the Wilk's home and where the BMW was abandoned. Officers have spoken to members of the Polish community to find out if Mr Wilk may have been involved in a dispute over recent weeks or felt that his safety may be under threat. 

Gardaí also intend to contact police in Poland to see if there may be a link to his home country that could explain why Mr Wilk's was attacked. 

Aga Deryng, a close friend of the Wilk's family who was at Mrs Wilk's bedside at the CUH told the 'Cork Today' show on C103 that the Polish community was terrified following the attack.

"They (the Wilks) are a wonderful family. Mikolaj was a generous, great, great helpful man with a warm heart," said Ms Deryng. 

She said that Mrs Wilk, who has indicated she intends to move back to Poland with her children when she recovers from her injuries, was heartbroken.

"You can't describe it. But at least all of us can be here and support her as much as we can. We're trying to stay with her all the times and not to let her be alone with her own thoughts, because  you don't want to know what is going through her head," said Ms Deryng. 

"The family had been living in Ireland for around 12 years. This was their home, but I don't think it is going to be anymore. We're all terrified now." 

Polish chaplain in Cork, Fr Piotr Galus said the Polish community was shocked by the savage attack. "Everyone is asking if they are safe," he said. 

He will celebrate a special mass for the Wilk family in Ballincollig on Saturday.  Reissuing an appeal to anyone who may have information or have witnessed the incident Garda Superintendent Colm O'Sullivan said that following earlier appeals  a number of people have come forward with information. 

Dashcam footage shot around the time of the attack and its aftermath may hold vital clues as to the identity of the attackers. 

"We wish to thank the public for their assistance in the investigation thus far. However, we are aware of a number of taxis and hackneys that were operating in the Maglin, Ballincollig, Ballinora and Waterfall areas on the night of the incident and have not come forward," said Supt O'Sullivan.

"I would appeal to them to contact us at Gurranabraher Garda station on 021 494 6200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 11 or any Garda station. Any information they have, no matter how insignificant, would assist our investigation."