Saturday, February 06, 2010

Jailed Polish rapist in assassination bid

A FORMER Polish soldier who was jailed on Friday for a vicious sexual attack on a woman tried to have her and her partner killed while he was in prison awaiting trial.

Edward Piotrowski, 45, made two unsuccessful approaches to would-be assassins to whom he offered money in return for killing his victims in advance of his trial for rape and false imprisonment.

Gardai averted the murder plot after it leaked back to detectives.

Details of the ferocious attack on the couple were so shocking that Mr Justice Peter Charlton branded it the worst he had encountered in his career, before passing one of the harshest sentences for rape ever handed down in an Irish court.

Piotrowski received five life terms. The judge said it was his intention that the former soldier would never be released.

Piotrowski moved to Ireland in 2005 and worked as a mechanic in Edenderry, Co Offaly. He was said to be jealous of the woman's new relationship and wanted to kill both her and her partner.

Their nightmare began when Piotrowski broke into the couple's home in November 2007.

In her statement, she said she awoke suddenly when she was hit in the head. When she turned on the light she saw a man in a balaclava standing at the bed, attacking her boyfriend.

She instantly recognised her assailant and pleaded with him to stop.

With his identity blown, Piotrowski threatened to kill them both. He bound her partner with duct tape and slashed him 10 times with a knife. Then he raped and sexually assaulted her.

He told them he planned to kill both of them, but that he would make it look like her boyfriend had killed her and then took his own life.

He eventually agreed to leave when she promised him she would not report the attack. After he had gone, they called the police.

When Piotrowski returned to his house at around 10.30am, gardai were already there and he was arrested.

When his car was searched, gardai found night-vision glasses, an electro-shock weapon, a knife, a baton and a map of the town with a purple dot marking the victim's house.

Piotrowski denied that he had been anywhere near the victims. However during his interrogation, Inspector Pat Murray, who led the investigation, noticed a tiny spot of blood on his left ear.

The blood turned out to be that of his female victim.

Despite the care he took to cover his tracks, Piotrowski's DNA was also found on a carton of orange juice in his victims' house.

Piotrowski had prepared for the attack with chilling attention to detail.

He broke into the house using a key he had already cut. He carried a rucksack, containing rope and duct tape. He wore a balaclava and blue plastic covers on feet to conceal his footprints.

After leaving the house, he burned his clothes and other materials linking him to the attack.

Despite the suspicions raised by this advance planning, Piotrowski had no criminal record, here or in his native Poland, where he had served in the army for two years.

The impact of the attack continues to reverberate with his victims. Gardai have put protection measures in place, since learning of Piotrowski's plot to kill his victims while awaiting trial. The woman's parents have also received threats.

The attack was described as "insane" and "horrible" by the judge on Friday.

But the Rape Crisis Network questioned why Piotrowski was allowed to serve his five life sentences simultaneously, rather than consecutively, which would ensure a lifetime behind bars.