herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Dad-of-2 hacked to death 'over a personal grudge'

Mikolaj Wilk was hacked to death in front of his wife, Elzbieta, who remains in hospital with serious injuries
Mikolaj Wilk was hacked to death in front of his wife, Elzbieta, who remains in hospital with serious injuries

Gardai are investigating whether a gang broke into a Polish gardener's home and hacked him to death with machetes in front of his wife over a personal grudge.

A massive investigation is continuing into the brutal murder of Mikolaj Wilk, who died after being attacked by a gang of up to four men at his home in Ballincollig, Co Cork.

A source told the Herald that the murder gang did not steal anything from the property, indicating that burglary was not the motive behind the crime.

Inquiries are continuing into Mr Wilk's background, but he was not known to gardai, and at this stage there is nothing to suggest he was linked to criminality.

Surgery

Instead, detectives are investigating if the murder was carried out over a personal grudge someone had against the father-of-two.

"Nothing was taken from that house and Mr Wilk was absolutely not a criminal," a source said.

"At this stage it appears that he crossed someone, and what happened is over a personal grudge."

A relative of Mr Wilk described his death as a "huge loss" to the family, but did not want to comment further.

Following successful surgery, Mr Wilk's wife, Elzbieta, is now back in her room at Cork University Hospital and fully aware of the horrific events that took place in the early hours of Sunday and that her husband is dead.

She is bandaged up and has a cast around her arm and hand.

The Herald has also learned that Ms Wilk intends to move her family back to Poland in the so that they can be with her relatives.

It is believed that another woman who was staying in the house managed to escape through a window and hide outside during the attack.

Yesterday, following a technical examination of a car found burnt-out a short distance from the crime scene, gardai discovered a firearm.

This has now been sent for further examination.

A post-mortem on Mr Wilk's body was completed yesterday evening, while a garda appeal for information has also been issued by a Polish-speaking member of the force.

A close friend of the family, Aga Deryng, remained at Mrs Wilk's bedside yesterday morning.

Speaking to Cork Today on C103, Ms Deryng said the Polish community is terrified following Mr Wilk's murder. She said her friend suffered injuries to her arm, head and face.

"Her hand is all bandaged up. She doesn't have any power in three of her fingers at the moment," she said.

"She's also very badly injured on her head and her face. I couldn't imagine that brutal an attack, I'm just shocked.

"She is just heartbrok- en - you can't describe it. But at least all of us can be here and support her as much as we can."

Generous

Ms Deryng said the family had been in Ireland for around 12 years and the two children were four and five-years-old.

"They are a wonderful family. Mikolaj was a generous, great, great helpful man with a very warm heart," she added.

A GoFundMe page set up by Ms Deryng for the family has so far raised more than €6,000.

Polish chaplain for Cork, Fr Piotr Galus, who has lived in the city for 12 years, described his shock at the horrific attack.

"Twelve years ago, four men died in a car crash, but something like this we've never experienced in Cork," he said.

"Everybody is asking, are we safe? We've heard of gangs attacking other gangs, but never somebody coming to a house and attacking a family."

He added that there is concern in Poland for family members who live in Ireland.

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