The sister of mum-of-three Natalia Karaczyn has told a jury of the moment her brother-in-law told her he killed her.
Rafal Karaczyn (34), of Crozon Park, Sligo, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his 30-year-old wife Natalia Karaczyn, at their family home in Crozon Park between April 29, 2018 and May 1st, 2018.
Natalia's sister Magdalena McMorrow, otherwise known as Magda, gave evidence at the Central Criminal Court this morning.
She said Natalia and Mr Karaczyn were separated for a year prior to her death and they were living in the same house but sleeping in separate bedrooms. She said Natalia had been trying to get Mr Karaczyn to move out but that he “was just not agreeing to it [the separation]”. She added that when Natalia was out socialising with friends “he’d be ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing her”.
Magda was doing a 24-hour residential care shift from 12 noon on Saturday, April 29, 2018 to 12 noon the following day when she got a message from Mr Karaczyn at around 9am on Sunday, April 30, 2018, saying that Natalia hadn’t come home and that he didn’t know where she was.
Magda said that’s when she started to ring her sister’s phone and send her text messages. “I just wrote ‘where are you?’,” she said. She said she rang two of Natalia’s friends to see if she was with them but they said they left her at The Garavogue Bar at around 2.30am or 3am. Magda also told the court that she checked to see if her sister was at Sligo General Hospital that morning.
Magda said around 10am on that Sunday she started to get “really nervous”. “She would never have just not gone home,” she said.
Shortly after this, Magda said she told gardai that she believed her sister was missing. Before going to the garda station to make a statement, she went to Tesco to print out a Snapchat picture she had of Natalia on her phone from her 30th birthday.
After making her statement, Magda told the court that she drove around Sligo town and tried ringing people whom she thought might have been able to help her locate Natalia, including a bouncer from The Garavogue Bar. She said, following her inquiries, she learned that Natalia was with a man that night.
Bernard Condon SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, also read out a series of translated text messages between Magda and Mr Karaczyn on the morning of Sunday, April 30, 2018. The court heard that just before 11am, Mr Karaczyn texted Magda “damn, I’m getting nervous”.
Just after 1pm, they had another exchange of texts in which Magda told him that the guards had a contact for the “guy” that Natalia was with that night. Magda also went to this man’s workplace and spoke to him, she said.
She said later that afternoon, Mr Karaczyn and her searched Natalia’s home. She said after they searched the house, Mr Karaczyn was outside smoking and she went to give a hug. “He was very nervous, he was very stiff, extremely stiff and didn’t hug me back. I just thought he was nervous,” Magda said.
Magda agreed with Mr Condon that she and Mr Karaczyn shared numerous phone calls over the rest of the evening. Asked if, at around 10pm that evening, Mr Karaczyn was “still suggesting that he didn’t know where she was”, Magda said: “Yes, 100 per cent.”
Magda said on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, she went to the home of Mr Karaczyn’s employer where Mr Karaczyn was. She said when she arrived, Mr Karaczyn was sitting on the floor with his head buried in his hands and that he was crying. She gave him a hug.
She said Mr Karaczyn told his boss: “You tell her, I can’t do it”. The employer then told her: “She’s dead.” Magda said she just screamed in response.
Magda said Mr Karaczyn told her that Natalia had got “messed up with the wrong people” and that “Travellers” had come to their house and put a gun to his head and threatened to put a gun to the heads of his children if he didn’t leave a back window open to allow them come into the house and hurt Natalia. She said Mr Karaczyn told her he let the window open to allow them gain entry into the house and that he then found Natalia dead and brought her body to a forest. “I believed every word,” Magda told the court.
An arrangement was then made for Magda and Mr Karaczyn to go to the guards and Magda identified Natalia’s body later that evening. Later, Magda was brought to Ballymote Garda Station and was in a room alone with Mr Karaczyn when he told her “I did it, I did it”.
Magda told the court that Mr Karaczyn told her that he and Natalia had had an argument. She said he said that Natalia went into the box room to get changed and to go to sleep when he went after her to say “where were you?” and that she was pushing him out of the room. Magda said he walked into the room again and during their arguing “he grabbed her and strangled her”. Magda said he told her that he lay down with her on the mattress that was on the floor of the room for ten minutes afterwards. She said he then told her that he put her body in the boot of the car.
Magda said Mr Karaczyn was crying as he told her this. She told Mr Condon that she was “comforting” him as he spoke to her. “I don’t know…I just felt like…I felt really sorry for him. I think it was shock, I don’t know.”
The trial continues before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of seven women and five men.
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