Family 'devastated' by father's killing spree in Jersey

Flowers left for the victims in Jersey Credit: ITV News

Relatives of the six victims of Damian Rzeszowski have spoken of their grief after he was found guilty of manslaughter but cleared of murder by the Royal Court in St Helier, Jersey today.

Rzeszowski, 31, carried out a frenzied knife attack on four members of his own family and two family friends at his home in St Helier on August 14 2011.

He admitted the killings but his defence argued successfully that he was suffering moderate to severe depression, causing an onset of psychotic symptoms, which diminished his responsibility.

Speaking outside the courtroom, a family liaison officer read a statement on behalf of Polish relatives of his late wife, Izabela Rzeszowski. Izabela's father and two children were also killed.

The statement written by Izabela's mother, brother and sister-in-law said they were "devastated by an enormous tragedy".

A statement was also read on behalf of Craig De La Haye - a Jersey man whose daughter and Polish wife were also victims of the attack. They had been visiting the Rzeszowskis' flat for a barbecue at the time.

Craig De La Haye's statement said that "every day is a struggle to continue and yet it still feels like yesterday that it happened".

Wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, Rzeszowski showed no emotion in the dock as the presiding judge, Sir Michael Birt, read out the verdicts.

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 for manslaughter on October 29.

After the attacks, Rzeszowski told psychiatrists that, during the trip back from a family holiday in Poland, he began to hear voices coming from the car radio.

The voices spoke in Polish, telling him he was a "bad man" and mentioning the names of his children.

Izabela Rzeszowski Credit: States of Jersey police handout

Later that day a row broke out between Rzeszowski and his wife after he left the children on their own in the apartment to go for a drive.

He claimed that at this point the voices increased, warning him that his wife and Marta were going to be raped and killed, and his children put on the barbecue.

He went out for a cigarette and the voices said "kill, kill", although he told a psychiatrist that he did not interpret them as a command.

Damian Rzeszowski Credit: States of Jersey police handout

Julian Gollop, for the defence, claimed that was the last Rzeszowski could remember until he woke up in a hospital bed after surgery for a collapsed lung.

But the prosecution argued that he had been exacting "extreme revenge" on his wife, after finding out about an affair, by killing her and everyone she loved.

Mr Sharp said Rzeszowski had initially told doctors he had some memories of the attacks and that he had not been hearing voices.

Marta De La Haye, 34, and her daughter Julia Frances Credit: States of Jersey police handout

Mrs De La Haye's mother said in a statement: "Knowing I will never be able to speak to or see my girls again breaks my heart.

"Finding the strength to carry on each day without them proves to be a continuous struggle.

"Every day I ask myself 'Why?'. A question that will never be answered."