Sligo man accused of murdering wife told gardai to look for CCTV of man pointing gun to his head, trial hears

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A husband on trial accused of murdering his wife told gardai to look for CCTV footage of a 6ft man with red hair who he claimed pointed a gun to his head just weeks before his wife was reported missing, a jury has heard

The jury in the Central Criminal Court trial this morning  (Wednesday, March 4) has heard about the first two Garda interviews carried out with Rafal Karaczyn.

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 29, 2018 and May 1, 2018. 

The court has previously heard that on Wednesday, May 2, 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. 

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.

This morning Dara Foynes SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, read from the notes of the first and second written Garda interviews with Mr Karaczyn at Ballyote Garda Station on Monday, April 30, 2018.

The jury heard that, during the first interview, Mr Karaczyn claimed that about two to three weeks before April 28th a man and woman from the Travelling community arrived at the back of his home.

He said the man was six-foot tall, had red hair, a beard and wore glasses while the woman had blonde hair and 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".

He said he couldn’t remember the exact date but that it happened on either a Saturday or a Sunday and that he was minding his and Natalia’s three children when it happened. He said Natalia was shopping in town at the time.

Mr Karaczyn told gardai that he didn’t tell anyone about the event because the man had threatened to kill his children. He also said he didn’t tell Natalia about the incident.

The accused told gardai that on the night of Saturday, April 28, 2018, Natalia left the house at around 9pm, he minded their children and that he drank around four cans of beer before going to bed. He said he didn’t wake during the night and that one of his children woke him up at 6.58am.

He said Natalia and him had been having difficulties since the beginning of the year and were on a “break”. When asked what happened to their relationship, he said that they “grew apart”. He said they decided to take a “rest” from each other before they would “try again from the beginning”.

He told gardai: “I would never hurt her even at the worst time.”

Mr Karaczyn also told gardai that Natalia would sleep in a bedroom with a mattress on the floor from Monday to Thursday and that he would sleep there from Friday to Sunday. As they were on a break he said they “very seldom slept in the same bed”.

During the second interview on the afternoon of the same day, he was asked by gardai how he ended up being at the Garda station that day and he replied: “I would never do something wrong to my wife.”

When it was put to him that he was arrested on suspicion of murder, he said: “I never hurt her, I never used bad words to her.” Asked if he was worried about his children’s future, he said yes because of the possibility of him going to prison. When he was asked why he would be going to prison, he replied: “Because I have no proof of my innocence.”

Mr Karaczyn told gardai to “please check” for CCTV cameras that would look into his back garden.

Asked if Natalia was dead, he told gardai that he didn’t know before saying, “I didn’t hurt her.”

The accused also told gardai that his wife and children were everything to him and that he had loved Natalia for 13 years. In the second interview, he also told gardai that he was planning to move in with friends the following June and that he accepted their marriage was over.

Asked why he was still wearing his wedding ring, he said: “Because I still love her.”

When it was put to him that his children deserved answers, he replied: “I did nothing wrong.”

The trial continues before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of seven women and five men.