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18/09/2021

Garda found body of Natalia Karaczyn covered by tree and branches after husband directed him to her remains

Caused criminal damage during Dundalk burglary

The case continues at the Central Criminal Court

A garda found the body of a missing mum-of-three partially covered by tree branches and debri in a forested area after her husband told him “you go in there, maybe 10 metres, you find her”, his murder trial has heard

Rafal Karaczyn (34), of Crozon Park, Sligo, has pleaded not  guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old wife Natalia Karaczyn, at their family home in Crozon Park between April 29th, 2018 and May 1st, 2018. 

The Central Criminal Court has previously heard that on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018, Mr Karaczyn was in Ballymote Garda Station with Natalia’s sister Magda McMorrow when he told her that he killed Natalia. Ms McMorrow told Bernard Condon SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, that Mr Karaczyn said he strangled her after she came home from a night out. 

This morning Garda James Kenneally, attached to Sligo Garda Station, told the jury that on the afternoon of May 1st, 2018, a Garda colleague drove him and Mr Karaczyn to a forested area off the Holywell Road to find Natalia’s body. Garda Kenneally said before they set off, he was told by his superiors that Mr Karaczyn was going to bring them to the location of Natalia's body. 

Garda Kenneally said he was sitting in the back of the patrol car with Mr Karaczyn when the car stopped and pulled into a small verge after Mr Karaczyn told his Garda colleague “stop”. Garda Kenneally said Mr Karaczyn, who was sitting behind the driver’s seat, looked to his right out the window as he pointed with his left, across Garda Kenneally, and said “in there”.

Garda Kenneally said he asked Mr Karaczyn “where?” and Mr Karaczyn repeated “in there”. The guards said he told Mr Karaczyn that he’d have “to be more specific”. He said Mr Karacyzen then replied in broken English: “You go in there, maybe 10 metres, you find her.” 

Garda Kenneally confirmed to Mr Condon that Mr Karaczyn maintained his position of not looking towards the area while he was directing the guard.

Asked by Mr Condon to tell the court what he observed, Garda Kenneally said it was a densely wooded area and that he stepped over a low fence before going down a hill. “As I was going downward, there was a large tree and I recall seeing a body there,” he said.

He also told Mr Condon: “I could see that there was a body partially hidden and it appeared to me to be on its back. To me it looked like it was unclothed at the time, semi-naked.” Garda Kenneally also told the barrister that there was branches, trees and debris on top of the body and that this skewed his view of the remains. He said: “It was clear to me that this was a dead body.”

The court heard that the area was subsequently sealed off and preserved by gardai while the public road, off which Natalia’s remains were found, was closed. Garda Kenneally later returned to where Natalia’s remains were found and said he was then able to stand much closer to the body.

He said: “I was able to see it was clearly a body of a female and I was fairly sure it matched the description of the missing person, Natalia Karaczyn.”

Garda Kenneally added: “We said a short prayer for the deceased at the scene.”

The court heard that Ms McMorrow later identified the remains as being those of her sister at 9pm that night.

The trial continues.

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