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Damian Rzeszowski

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"There was a chilling gothic clarity about the method by which he killed his victims."
Professor David Wilson - Criminologist
It’s a beautiful afternoon in August 2011. A family is having a barbeque. In just fifteen minutes, this picture postcard family moment will be turned into a scene from a slaughterhouse...
Damian and Izabela have been married for six years. The once romantic lovers have grown increasingly apart due to the pressures of family. Damian’s work colleagues notice a change in his behaviour. The 30 year old was quieter, less communicative. The previous month, unbeknownst to many, he had attempted suicide. He couldn’t face Izabela’s revelation that she had had a two month affair.
The couple thought a trip home might heal the rifts in their marriage. It hadn’t.
Damian drives the family home, all the way from Poland to St Malo. It’s an exhausting 23 hour trip. He drives them onto the very early Sunday morning ferry. When it docks in St Helier, it’s just 8am. He drives everyone straight home.
The date is 14 August 2011.
It’s a Sunday. All over the island families decide to enjoy the warm weather with a barbecue. Damian and Izabela decide the same. Izabela invites her best friend Marta and her five year old daughter Julia to join the family.
At around 12:30 Izabela and her father Marek set off to pick up Marta and Julia. Damian is left to look after the two children. Marta’s husband Craig is looking after his other daughter and her friends after a sleepover so he doesn’t come along.
When Izabela returns, she finds her children have been left alone. Damian is nowhere to be found. When minutes later he walks through the door, he can’t, or won’t explain where he’s been. Izabela is furious with him. Nearby neighbours hear their raised voices.
Nevertheless, they have their barbecue. Damian drinks some whiskey. The barbecue finishes.
All of the children are in the front room of the flat. Kacper is sitting on a chair at the dining room table playing with some toys. Kinga is painting. Julia is close by. Izabela supervises them.
Damian takes two kitchen knives. First he stabs Izabela’s father.
“Instrumentally, by killing the only other adult man first, he is removing immediately the one person who physically might have been able to have overcome him and prevent the family annihilation.”
Professor David Wilson - Criminologist
Marek is watching TV. The violence comes so suddenly that he barely moves. Finally, after a frenzied attack, Damian plunges the knife into Marek’s spinal cord. It severs it. Damian leaves the knife in Marek’s back. Armed with the other knife, he moves on.
But remarkably, the 56 year old Marek is still alive. Unable to walk because of his wounds, he crawls into the hallway. He is trying to reach and protect the children in the living room.
As 18 month old Kacper plays with his car toys, Damian stabs him five times in the chest. Kacper slumps forward, still seated. Damian stabs him another eight times in the back. Kacper falls to the floor. He is dead.
Damian’s six year old daughter is painting. Kinga is stabbed 16 times. The first three wounds are to her front, the rest in her back.
Next is Julia. She’s stabbed several times but survives and manages to move to the hallway. Damian sees her efforts and administers the last of 16 stab wounds.
“His wife would’ve viewed those other murders taking place and have been powerless to have done anything to prevent those murders so there’s a way in which she is being punished even in the order of the victims that has been chosen. It prolonged her pain, not only her pain physically but her pain psychologically.”
Professor David Wilson - Criminologist
Izabela leaves a bloody palm print on the wall next to the door of the living room. This indicates she is first stabbed either there or in the hallway. She sustains three fatal stab wounds to the chest. She still has enough life to run through the flat trying to escape. She goes through both bedrooms and seeks safety in the bathroom. She uses Marek’s phone to ring 997. This is a Polish emergency number. It doesn’t connect.
Unanswered, she drops the phone. She tries to flee the flat.
At around this time, Marta is attacked and killed.
At 14:58, a 999 call is made. A witness reports Damian chasing Izabela down the street attacking her. She’s shouting and screaming for help. Witnesses think he’s hitting her. In fact, every time his hand lands on her, it holds the knife and she receives more stab wounds to her back.
A witness shouts at and approaches Damian. He points the knife at them. They stop. Damian walks back in the flat, closes the door, and starts to use the knife on himself.
In just fifteen minutes, Damian has stabbed his wife, daughter, son, father-in law, his wife’s best friend and her daughter to death.
Damian now stabs himself repeatedly in the chest, puncturing and collapsing one lung.
He attempts to cut his wrists. He is either overcome by his actions, or suffering from blood loss because he slumps to the floor and sprawls face down in the back room.