Murder trial jury sees video footage of a husband sobbing as he explains to gardai how he strangled his wife

Tipperary District Court

A murder trial jury has watched video footage of a husband sobbing and holding a roll of toilet paper to explain to gardai how he strangled his wife.

It has also heard that Rafal Karaczyn was placed on suicide watch by order of a District Court the day after he admitted to killing his wife. 

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. 

At the Central Criminal Court this morning, Tuesday, March 10,video footage of Mr Karaczyn’s eighth and final Garda interview, in which he admitted to strangling his wife after she returned from a night out, was played for the jury. Notes of the interview were read out by Dara Foynes SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, yesterday, Monday, March 9.

The jury saw and heard Mr Karaczyn crying and holding his head in his left hand as he sat in an interview room with Detective Garda Paul Casey and Detective Garda Pauline O’Neill at Ballymote Garda Station on the evening of May 2nd, 2018. The footage showed that he was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt with the words ‘Seize the city’ running down the sleeve and black pants at the time.

The jury saw he took a drink of water, use tissue to blow his nose and rubbed both his eyes before he told the two gardai that he wanted to admit that he killed his wife.

Through a translator, he said: “Everything started one year ago, in April. Natalia said to me she want to break. I have depression, had. I got better until December because later on Natalia said I have to leave the house, I have to move.

“But I was in house, I stayed in house. I did everything because children. Until this night, I would like to tell you now about it.”

He then went on to tell the guards that he woke up when Natalia came home from a night out on the morning of Sunday, April 29th, 2018, and that he got up and went into the spare room where she was and asked her “where are you been?”. He said he used a “hard voice” and asked the question again before she pushed him. He told gardai he then went into the room and asked again “where are you been?”. He said she slapped him twice and he then strangled her. He said he felt her slide down and then he lay down with her for ten minutes.

The jury heard that Det Gda Casey then asked Mr Karaczyn to tell him and Det Gda O’Neil “exactly” what he did. He replied: “There was too fast. I just took her and strangled her…both hands…I was under big stress.”

When asked by Det Gda Casey what he did with both of his hands, the jury saw that Mr Karaczyn stretched out his arms and held a near-empty roll of toilet paper, which was on the table in front of him, with both of his hands. “I took her neck this way,” he said.

Asked if he was saying that he put both hands around Natalia’s neck, the jury saw that he nodded and heard he replied: “Yes.” 

Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Cathal Duffy agreed with Michael Bowman SC, for the accused, that Mr Karaczyn was placed on suicide watch the day after he admitted killing Natalia, on May 3rd, 2018, by way of a District Court order. He also confirmed to Mr Bowman that he agreed with the application for the order by Mr Karaczyn’s legal team.

Det Sgt Duffy also agreed with Bernard Condon SC, for the DPP, that such applications in such circumstances would be “common” and would always be granted or acceded to by gardai.

The trial continues. 

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