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Jersey judge: Brutality of killings 'hard to believe'

The judge sentencing Damian Rzeszowski to 30 years in jail on six counts of manslaughter said:

The horror and brutality of these killings is hard to believe.

Within a quarter of an hour all six people had died, their lives cruelly cut short.

The court is in no doubt from the nature of the attacks that you intended to kill all six victims.

This was not a case of murder - the court found you guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility - but you still pose a risk of harm to anyone you are in a relationship with.

– Judge Michael Birt, Bailiff of Jersey

Builder jailed for Jersey killings

A man who carried out a frenzied knife attack on six people, including his wife and two young children, has been jailed for 30 years, police said.

Damian Rzeszowski armed himself with kitchen knives and killed his father-in-law Marek Gartska, 56, wife Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, daughter Kinga, five, and two-year-old son Kacper, at their Jersey home on 14 August last year.

The 31-year-old Polish builder also turned on his wife's friend, Marta De La Haye, 34, and her five-year-old daughter Julia, who were at the house for a barbecue.


Timeline of Damian Rzeszowski case

  • March 2008: Damian Rzeszowski finds that his wife, Izabela, has been using Skype to flirt with a Polish man in the US.
  • May 2011: Rzeszowski begins to feel depressed "for the first time ever".
  • June 2011: Rzeszowski finds out that his wife has been having a two-month affair with another man.
  • July 2011: After a visit to his GP, Rzeszowski takes an overdose of pills.
  • August 2011: The couple travel to Poland with children for a family holiday in a final attempt to save the marriage. Later the same month, Rzeszowski attacks.
  • April 2012: Rzeszowski pleads guilty to six charges of manslaughter.
  • August 2012: Rzeszowski found guilty.


Family of Jersey victims remain 'shattered' by killings

Relatives of four of the six victims killed by Damian Rzeszowski in Jersey have described their ongoing pain at the deaths.

The statement was read by a police family liaison officer outside St. Helier's Royal Court after the Pole was convicted of manslaughter, on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Over a year ago our family was devastated by an enormous tragedy.

The deaths of Marek, Izabela, Kinga, Kacper, Marta and Julia shattered our lives and the lives of many other close families and friends. Our lives were broken when the hearts of six other wonderful people were stopped.

A year has passed and it still hurts. We do not think this will ever change as we've lost our closest family and friends forever.

Rzeszowski shows no emotion as manslaughter verdict read out

Damian Rzeszowski showed no emotion in the dock as the presiding judge, Sir Michael Birt, read out the verdicts that two jurats - similar to magistrates in the UK - had reached.

Throughout the trial, the defendant had constantly stared down at the floor, not looking up at any time.

No members of the victims' families were in court, but the public gallery was full of curious onlookers.

Judge Birt, who is the Bailiff of Jersey, said Rzeszowski would be sentenced on October 29.

Man avoids murder convictions in Jersey on grounds of diminished responsibility

Damian Rzeszowski Credit: States of Jersey police handout

Damian Rzeszowski, who was today convicted of the manslaughter of six people, admitted the killings but successfully used the defence of diminished responsibility, avoiding murder convictions.

His legal team said he was suffering moderate to severe depression, causing an onset of psychotic symptoms.

Damian Rzeszowski armed himself with kitchen knives and stabbed his father-in-law, wife, daughter and two-year-old son Kacper at their Jersey home on August 14 last year.

The 31-year-old Polish builder also turned on his wife's friend and her five-year-old daughter who were at the house for a barbecue.

The court heard that Rzeszowski's marriage had been under strain after his wife confessed to a two-month affair with another man and threatened to commit suicide.

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