A man accused of murdering his wife told gardai "this is not truth" when it was suggested to him that he killed her because he was angry and jealous, his 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 jury in the Central Criminal Court trial heard yesterday that mother-of-three Natalia did not have an instantaneous death and that bruising found on her left arm may have been defensive-type injuries.
It also heard that, after Mr Karaczyn found a place to put his wife’s body 10 metres from the side of a road, he told gardai he covered her with branches and sticks and stayed with her for two minutes before he returned home.
Acting State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan, who carried out a post-mortem examination on Natalia, gave evidence yesterday. She told the jury that she concluded the cause of death was asphyxia due to external pressure on the neck.
She told Bernard Condon SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions: “I don’t think this was an instantaneous death.” She also said that bruising found on Natalia’s left forearm “may have been defensive-type injuries”.
Dr Mulligan said she found extensive bruising on Natalia’s neck, jaw, ears and chin area, mainly on the left side. She told Michael Bowman SC, for the accused, that the bruising was associated with “manual strangulation”.
Natalia’s sister Magda McMorrow has previously told the jury that on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018, Mr Karaczyn told her that he strangled Natalia after she came home from a night out early on the morning of Sunday, April 29th, 2018. He said he followed her into a box room in the house and asked where she’d been before she said it was none of his business, Ms McMorrow told the court. She said Mr Karaczyn said Natalia pushed him and slapped him and that he then strangled her. He said he lay down with her for ten to 15 minutes afterwards, Ms McMorrow said.
Before Natalia went home, she had been in the company of Gvido Ozols whom she met in The Garyvogue Bar on the Saturday night, the jury heard. The court has previously heard that Natalia and Mr Karaczyn were separated at the time of her death but still lived in the same house with their three sons.
Today Dara Foynes SC, for the DPP, read from the notes of the fifth, sixth and seventh Garda interviews with Mr Karaczyn.
In the sixth interview, on the morning of May 2nd, 2018, Mr Karaczyn said that he woke up at 6.58am on Sunday, April 29th, 2018, and found his wife lying in a strange position fully clothed. He said he saw one of his sons coming up the stairs and that he brought him downstairs to watch cartoons in the living room. He said gave his phone to another son, who was in his cot, so that he could watch YouTube. His third son was sleeping, he said.
He then told gardai that he carried Natalia to the boot of her car. “She was hiding by blanket,” he told gardai.
Mr Karaczyn told gardai he then drove the car on a road that they showed him on a map previously and said: “I stopped my car on a curve, like a little hill. I saw nobody around and left Natalia about 10 metres distance from this.” He then said he covered her with tree branches and sticks. “I spend two minutes with her and came back home,” he said.
During his first four Garda interviews on April 30th and May 1st, Mr Karaczyn told gardai that he did not kill Natalia. He told gardai to "please check" for CCTV footage into his back garden of a 6ft man with red hair and a beard who he said had put a gun to his head just weeks before the final weekend in April. He said the man was accompanied by a woman with blonde hair who looked like she used sun beds. The man told him that Natalia had “messed with the wrong woman”, Mr Karaczyn told gardai. He said the man "put a gun to my head" and told him to "be careful”.
In the sixth interview, Mr Karaczyn told gardai again about the 6ft man with red hair and asked them, again, to check for CCTV that would look into the back of his house. He said: “Without this, everything against me.”
When gardai told him that they believed he killed Natalia because he was “angry and jealous”, Mr Karaczyn replied: “This is not truth. I accepted this earlier.” He said he accepted that Natalia didn’t want to be with him and that their marriage was over. “She is cheating me, that is not a problem for me. Maybe beginning only,” he said.
Mr Karaczyn also told gardai in the sixth interview that the 6ft man approached him while he was out with his children on the Saturday, April 29th. He said the man told him to leave the kitchen window open that night and to “stay away from this”.
When it was put to him that he didn’t stay away that night, as he and his children slept in the house that night, Mr Karaczyn said he couldn’t leave his children.
In the seventh interview, on the morning of May 2nd, 2018, he was asked to hold out his arms while a garda told him they could see “scrapes” on the back of his hand. When asked to explain how he got those marks, he said: “I don't want to talk to you.”
The trial continues on Monday.