| 13°C Dublin

Husband who bought flowers for wife then bludgeoned her with hammer gets 15 years

A MAN who bought his wife flowers, then tried to kill her by hitting her over the head with a lump hammer as she slept, has been jailed for 15 years.

Despite marital problems Andrej Benko (42), had bought his wife Joanna ten red roses for her 32nd birthday, with a court hearing he was disappointed to return home to find her asleep.

He saw the lump hammer while looking for a vase and instead of bringing her the flowers, went upstairs and bludgeoned her head with the hammer, leaving his wife with permanent injuries.

The father-of-one later told gardai he "was sick of her" over alleged drug-taking, claiming that their toddler son had found ecstasy tablets belonging to her in the house.


Benko of Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart, was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in prison at the Central Criminal Court for the crime.

He had admitted hitting Joanna's head at least three times, but pleaded not guilty to her attempted murder on July 5, 2010.

Last month, a jury took under three hours to reach a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Mrs Benko is confined to a wheelchair most of the time as a result of her injuries, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Now 35, she also has communication difficulties, will depend on full-time care for the rest of her life and is no longer able to look after her son.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the sentence saying he accepted that Benko was deeply remorseful but did not plead guilty to the offence he was convicted of.

He also noted that a psychological report before the court stated there was no concern for future criminality, but said: "The long-term consequences in the case are of the utmost seriousness," he said.

The judge told the court that the offence fell into the most serious category.

Mrs Benko and members of her family were in court when the verdict was read out.

A victim impact report was read on behalf of Joanna's brother Peter Kaniecny who said said he was "completely distraught" when he heard what happened to her and said his life had been "turned upside down".

On Monday Benko wept while he addressed the court to apologise to his wife and her family who were present for the hearing.

"I want to apologise to my wife and child and also her family and I'm so sorry and I never was looking for reason.

"I know nobody has right to hurt anybody and I understand how strong my wife is traumatised and her family," he said.

Detective Garda Patrick Traynor told Mr Dominic McGinn SC prosecuting that Benko had no previous convictions.

Benko arrived to Blanchardstown Garda Station on July 5, 2010 and said he had killed his wife.

He phoned emergency services and gave sufficient information for emergency services to attend to her.

On arrival they found Mrs Benko sustained significant injuries to her head, the court heard.


She was brought to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown and transferred to Beaumont Hospital.

There were at least three injuries to her head, which affected her mental function and fundamentally changed her life.

The court heard that the couple had been having marital problems, with Benko telling GardaĆ­ that his wife had been taking and dealing drugs and spending all his money.

Despite the martial problems, Benko had bought Joanna the flowers for her birthday.

Instead of giving them to her, he attacked her with the lump hammer he found while he says he was looking for a vase.

In the emergency call he said: "The problem is that probably I killed my wife and now I'm on my way to you to be jailed.

"Ring an ambulance. Maybe you can save her because I hit her by hammer in head."