Tuesday 19 February 2019

Hammer man accused of trying to kill partner was insane

Alicja Kalinowska was beaten with a hammer in the attack
Alicja Kalinowska was beaten with a hammer in the attack

A Polish man who beat his partner with a hammer has been found not guilty of trying to murder her by reason of insanity.

Tomas Gajowniczek (37), of The Ice Rink Apartments, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin 8, pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the attempted murder of Alicja Kalinowska (30) at their home on June 16, 2016.

He also pleaded not guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Ms Kalinowska at the same time.

The jury heard that Mr Gajowniczek punched Ms Kalinowska in the face, stuffed underwear in her mouth and held her nose to stop her breathing, beat her with a hammer and gouged her eyes.

Ms Kalinowska told the jury she passed out when he forced her to drink from a bottle.

After almost nine hours considering their verdicts, the six men and six women of the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity on both counts.

Justice Patrick McCarthy committed Mr Gajowniczek to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH). He will return to court on May 9, when a doctor will say if he is suffering from a mental disorder.

Defence counsel Ronan Munro noted that during the trial, psychiatrists who had assessed Mr Gajowniczek had stated that he is no longer suffering a mental disorder, but added that he understands why the court would send him for assessment.


Ms Kalinowska told the trial that she started going out with Mr Gajowniczek in Poland in 2006 and they moved to Ireland to find work a few years later. She got a job in a Subway sandwich shop in Dublin while he worked a night shift in a Maxol garage.

During one of his shifts, there was a break-in and he was tied up and locked in a bathroom, traumatising him.

He remained on social welfare after that, and Ms Kalinowska noticed that his behaviour became strange after the death of his grandfather around Christmas 2015.

He also became angry over an incident where Ms Kalinowska kissed a neighbour one night while seeking respite from Mr Gajowniczek. This, the prosecution said, was the background to the attack on June 16.

The prosecution called Prof Damian Mohan of the CMH, who said the accused was "furious" about her infidelity and due to daily use of cannabis he was unable to control his anger.

Prof Mohan's colleague, Dr Conor O'Neill disagreed, telling the trial that he had treated Mr Gajowniczek following his arrest and believed he was suffering from a delusional disorder at the time and should qualify for a verdict of insanity.

Dr O'Neill said the disorder led to bizarre beliefs that Ms Kalinowska was poisoning or drugging his food and drink.

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