Damian Rzeszowski was born in Nowy Sacz, southern Poland in 1980. He did a brief spell in the army and then met Izabela Gartska. They had a whirlwind romance. But as their relationship developed, Rzeszowski’s career faltered.
With few work options in his homeland, he went to Jersey. There he found work as a foreman’s assistant. By the time he had a family, he was living in a terraced house on a quiet leafy Victoria Crescent on the outskirts of the capital St Helier. Colleagues and neighbours described him as a hard working man and a loving father. He worked and saved in the hope of being able to buy a house for his family back in Poland.
But in July 2011, the pressures of work and family overcame him. On 19 July, he attempted suicide. His overdose meant a night in the hospital.
Izabela Gartstka fell in love and was willing to leave her homeland for Damian. In 2004, a few months after Damian departed for Jersey, she followed. Damian appeared to be an ideal man to marry. He seemed very concerned that he would find enough work to be able to support her. She was sure he would make a devoted father. And Jersey seemed an ideal place to raise a family.
The pair were married in Jersey in 2005. Kinga, their daughter was born shortly after. Three years later, they had their second child, Kacper. Izabela was a loving mother and a supportive wife. A family dinner was ready when Damian came home. She baked her own bread and entertained the children. Their teacher described the pair as ‘little angels’. They had their mother’s blonde hair and blue eyes. Kinga loved art and photos show her dressed a little pink princess.
Izabela loved Jersey, loved how happy her children were and couldn’t imagine returning to Poland. But her marriage was failing. And after her husband’s attempted suicide, she realised how much strain he was under. She determined to do her best for him.
Marek Gartstka followed his daughter and new son in law to live in their new home in Jersey’s capital. The bespectacled, bearded man may have been 56 but he kept himself in shape so that he was able to play with his grandchildren.
Marta de le Haye was a 34 year old mother who first met Izabela through their shared need for babysitting. They soon became best friends and would go to the cinema or clubbing together.