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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Gardener 'hacked to death over €50k dispute with ruthless gang'

Murder victim Mikolaj Wilk with his wife Elzbieta
Murder victim Mikolaj Wilk with his wife Elzbieta

Gardai now fear Polish gardener Mikolaj Wilk (35) was hacked to death because of a dispute over €50,000 with a ruthless East European gang.

The gang, who are based in Latvia and Lithuania but operate across Europe, are heavily involved in drugs and car-theft rackets. They deal in the theft of luxury cars in Ireland and their shipment overseas to the black market.

Mr Wilk, a father-of-two, is believed to have somehow fallen foul of the gang who are notorious for their extreme violence.

Detectives are still unclear over precisely why the gang had a vendetta against him.

Theories being considered range from him unwittingly borrowing money from the gang to expand his business or that his gardening operations may accidentally have brought him into conflict with the gang through their involvement in cannabis growhouses.

The gang are believed to have demanded cash from Mr Wilk. One source said it is feared the sum involved was in excess of €50,000.

Mr Wilk's savage killing on June 10 is believed to have been ordered when the money was not surrendered.

His wife, Elzbieta, and his two children, returned home to Poland last weekend to make funeral arrangements.

The injuries sustained by Mr Wilk were so horrific that his children were unable to view his remains and his funeral involved a closed coffin.

Friends indicated that Mrs Wilk - who was also seriously injured by the gang who killed her husband - is unlikely to return to Ireland in the immediate future.

One businessman who knew Mr Wilk, Denis Lucey, said the gardener was "a hard worker, a man who lived for his family and a great guy".

"He was a very decent man. I can't make any sense of it. Why would someone work that hard if there was another income stream?," he asked.

"He seemed to be a very hard-working, Christian man. They [the killers] have to be caught - they must be held accountable."

It has now emerged that all four of those involved in the killing are believed to have fled Ireland within 24 hours. All now remain overseas.

However, up to a dozen people are believed to have been involved in logistical support for the four-man gang and these individuals remain in Ireland.

Blood

The Wilk family home remains empty with bloodstains still visible on the carpet and walls from the attack.

A total of seven properties were raided by gardai in the greater Cork area last week as part of a co-ordinated operation.

Following on from these searches, a total of nine vehicles were seized.

All were forensically examined by garda technical experts to see if there was any link to the brutal killing of the Polish father outside Ballincollig.

Several vehicles were taken to Dublin for expert analysis.

Gardai were specifically looking for any blood or DNA link to Mr Wilk as the brutality of his murder meant his killers left the property soaked in blood.

No arrests have been made.

Gardai sources said they are making "steady but significant progress" into the murder.

Mr Wilk, who ran a successful gardening business in Cork, was hacked to death with machetes by a four-man gang who attacked him at his home at Bridge House, Maglin, outside Ballincollig, at 3am on June 10.

Mr Wilk was killed in front of his horrified wife, Elzbieta, and his two children. His wife was also seriously assaulted.

She underwent surgery for tendon damage in one of her hands after being cut with a machete as she tried to protect herself and her children.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gurranabraher gardai on (021) 4946200.

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