Central Criminal Court
A friend of a man accused of murdering his wife has told a jury that he felt the accused was “mentally devastated”, “depressed” and suicidal months before he strangled the mother-of-three.
The friend also told the jury that he asked Rafal Karaczyn to move in with him to “stay away from trouble”, months before Natalia Karaczyn’s death.
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 (Wednesday), Piotr Korsak, who is originally from Poland, told the jury that he and his girlfriend introduced Natalia and Mr Karaczyn at a New Year’s Eve party in Poland around 15 years ago.
After Natalia and Mr Karaczyn moved to Ireland, Mr Korsak told the jury that Mr Karaczyn suggested to him that he and his girlfriend should move over to Ireland too. Mr Korsak and his girlfriend lived with the Karaczyns for a couple of months before they got their own place.
Mr Korsak told Michael Bowman SC, for the accused, that in 2017 and 2018, he knew the relationship between the Karaczyns was “bad” but he said Mr Karaczyn wouldn’t go into details.
He told the jury that around this time, Mr Karaczyn was “unpleasant”, “mentally devastated” and “depressed”. He said Mr Karaczyn “wasn’t there” and that when he would ask Mr Karaczyn questions, he’d look at the floor and not answer him.
Asked if he had concerns for Mr Karaczyn, Mr Korsak told Mr Bowman: “I was afraid he was going to commit suicide, do something to himself. So I proposed to him maybe move to my house and stay away from trouble.”
He also told Mr Bowman that he never observed Mr Karaczyn to be violent and added that after he learned that Natalia had died, he was “shocked”. He said: “I was pretty sure he was going to do something to himself.”
Mr Korsak agreed with Bernard Condon SC, for the prosecution, that he is not a medical doctor. Asked how he formed the impression that Mr Karaczyn was “mentally devastated” and “depressed”, Mr Korsak said Mr Karaczyn had been a “funny guy” who was “always saying jokes and stuff like that…he was a happy guy”. He said “closer to the tragedy”, he was “unpleasant”.
He explained to Mr Condon that he would have met Mr Karaczyn once or twice a week and that they’d either go to the gym or play video games.
Mr Korsak told Mr Condon that he offered Mr Karaczyn a place to live “a few months before” Natalia’s death. He added: “I actually tried to convince him to come over as soon as possible.” However, he said, Mr Karaczyn wanted to wait until after his son’s First Holy Communion that year.
Mr Condon put it to Mr Korsak: “So you were trying to convince him but he wanted to stay at home.” Mr Korsak replied: “Probably.”
The barrister asked Mr Korsak why, if he formed the opinion his friend might harm himself, he did not think to “report that to someone”. Mr Korsak said: “I was just trying to comfort him and get him out of some bad situation…I think, at the time, it was the best thing I could do for him.”
Mr Korsak also told Mr Bowman that he had not been in contact with Mr Karaczyn since Natalia’s death.
The jury has also been informed of new translations for specific words Mr Karaczyn used in his eighth and final Garda interview, in which he admitted to strangling his wife after she returned from a night out.
The court previously heard that when he was asked by Detective Garda Paul Casey to explain “exactly” what he did, Mr Karaczyn replied: “There was too fast. I just took her and strangled her…both hands…I was under big stress.”
Mr Condon told the jury today that the word used by Mr Karaczyn, which was translated into “under big stress”, is a word in Polish which is similar to the word 'amok' in English. He said it could be translated as "uncontrolled", "uncontrolled behaviour" or "in a rage”.
The court also previously heard that, during the same interview, when he was asked what he intended to do with his hands, Mr Karaczyn told gardai: “I don’t remember. I didn’t want to kill her. I don’t know what was with me this time.”
Mr Condon told the jury that the line "I don't know what was with me this time" could also be translated as "I don’t know what got inside me”.
Ms Justice Eileen Creedon sent the jury home at 2pm and told them to return tomorrow at 11am when they will hear closing speeches from the prosecution and defence.