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Sleeping wife 'hit three times with a hammer'

A 42-year-old man has gone on trial charged with attempting to murder his wife on her birthday by hitting her over the head with a hammer while she slept.

The court heard that the accused had left their Dublin home early on his wife's 32nd birthday, before returning with flowers for her.

However, the prosecutor said that instead of bringing the flowers upstairs to his sleeping wife, he brought up a lump hammer and hit her over the head with it at least three times.

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The Central Criminal Court heard that the woman was now confined to a wheelchair most of the time, had communication difficulties and would depend on full-time care for the rest of her life.

Andrzej Benko of Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Joanna Benko at that address on July 5, 2010.

Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, told the jury it would have to decide whether Mr Benko intended to kill his wife when he assaulted her.

The court heard a recording of the emergency call Mr Benko made as he drove to Blanchardstown Garda Station that morning.

"The problem is that probably I killed my wife and now I'm on my way to you to be jailed," he said. "Ring an ambulance. Maybe you can save her because I hit her by hammer in head."

Garda Rosanna Coll testified that he was 'panicked and agitated' when he arrived into the station.

"She was in bed sleeping on her right side," he told her, adding that he'd hit her left temple three times with a hammer.

"She was shouting at me illogically every day since January," he said.

"When I was going upstairs, I intended to kill her," he said. "I wanted to, then didn't want, then want."

He said he used about 20pc of his force but the hammer was heavy.

"I wasn't thinking," he continued. "I was destroyed financially and emotionally."

When asked if he had anything to add, he said his wife was associated with 'drug dealers and gangsters'.

"I'm guilty, I know," he said later. "I'm just praying she is to survive."

He said his wife had been taking drugs for a long time, had stopped taking amphetamines in 2005 and started smoking cannabis.

He said that she had been spending money 'illogically' since December 2009.

"I had no money for mortgage and had to borrow," he said.

The court heard that a garda had kicked in the front door on arrival at the Benko home that the various emergency services were on the scene quickly.

Dr Edward Mulligan cared for Mrs Benko on her arrival in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown. He said a depressed left skull fracture showed up on a CT scan, along with extensive brain contusions and raised inter-cranial pressure.

RECOVERY

"She was transferred to Beaumont for neurosurgery," he said.

A clinical neuropsychologist testified that when he assessed Mrs Benko last April, she was using one and two-word sentences. Mark Mulrooney added that she scored just 60pc in an understanding test.

"I would expect she would make very little more recovery," he said, adding that she would be unable to give evidence in court.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of two women and 10 men.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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