By Olivia Kelleher
Latest: The Polish chaplain in Cork has said that the late Mikolaj Wilk, his wife Elzbieta and their two young children will feature in the thoughts and prayers of the community after the father of two was murdered when a gang of up to four men burst in to his home on the outskirts of Ballincollig, Co Cork in the early hours of this morning.
Fr Piotr Galus said the death of the Polish gardener was a "savage" crime.
"I didn't know the man personally but I can say that we will involve those people in our prayers. We will pray for the family.
''We will offer any support we can to the family. For the father of a family to be murdered in his home. This is a crime with no nationalities. Anyone could be a victim of this."
Gardaí have said that there is no known motive for the stabbing to death of Mr Wilk (35) and the injuring of his wife Elzbieta who is also in her thirties.
The men entered the house armed with weapons including machetes. The husband and wife lived in a bungalow at Bridge House, Maglin Bridge, Ballincollig, Co Cork with their two children who are under the age of six.
Mikolaj, whom friends called "Nik", was known locally for running a gardening business and had lived in Ireland for at least five years.
Speaking at a press conference outside the house where the attack occurred, Superintendent Colm O'Sullivan said gardai responded to the incident at 3.17am this morning and were on the scene in less than five minutes.
The assailants had fled the area at this point in a car.
On arrival, gardaí found that Mr Wilk had life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where he died shortly after 5am.
Elzbieta is being treated in CUH for non life-threatening injuries. A second woman in her thirties and the couple's children, all of whom were in the house, were not harmed in the incident.
At 4am this today, Cork County Service Fire responded to the scene of a fire of a car at Inniskenny in Waterfall, Co Cork. A BMW Three Series car, which gardai believe the men were driving, was burned out.
The scene of the attack has been forensically examined and a family liaison officer has been appointed. House to house inquiries are ongoing as are CCTV checks in the area.
The Coroner has been notified and a postmortem will take place at CUH at 9am today.
Supt O'Sullivan said it was tragic to see a man leave a wife, family and friends behind in such circumstances.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. We are appealing for any information the public may have.
''This morning people would have been returning from a night out or going to or from work.
''If you noticed anything in the Maglin, Ballincollig, Ballinora or Waterfall areas please contact An Garda Siochana. We are appealing to taxi drivers who may have been dropping or collecting people in those areas to contact us. We are appealing to any person who may have a Dashcam in their car and travels in these areas to contact us."
Supt O'Sullivan said it was a busy road and junction and that someone must have witnessed unusual activity.
"They must have witnessed something. It may appear to someone as quite significant but to us it could be significant. It is early in the investigation.
Gardai said they were unable rule motives in or out with Supt O'Sullivan adding that it was a "tragic incident."
Meanwhile, Southern Correspondent for TV3, Paul Byrne, who knew the deceased through his gardening work, said that Mr Wilk was the "salt of the earth."
"He couldn't do more for you. He was a hard worker."
The house where the murder occurred was preserved for a technical examination and two vehicles, a Mercedes and a Kia Jeep, were also removed from the bungalow to be forensically examined by gardai.
It is understood that a gun was recovered from the burned-out car in Waterfall. This will be forensically examined.
Gardai are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at Gurranabraher on 021 4946200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
They are also asking anyone who may have seen a BMW leave the area at high speed to contact them. They are also anxious to speak to motorists who may possess relevant Dashcam Footage.
A Polish man who was killed following an attack in Ballincollig has been named as Mikołaj Wilk.
The 35-year old, who was known as 'Nik', and his wife, Elzbieta, were attacked in their home in the early hours of this morning.
A gang of men armed with weapons broke into the house where two young children were also present at the time.
Gardaí have launched a murder investigation, but no motive has been confirmed at this stage of the inquiry.
By Niall Murray and Eoin English
Gardaí will outline this evening what is known so far about the death of a Polish man following a brutal attack on him and his partner outside Ballincollig, Co Cork.
The business owner, aged in his 30s, died after a gang of men armed with unknown weapons broke into the couple’s house at around 3am.
Another woman, also in her 30s, and two young children were also in the house at the time.
The man’s death was confirmed this morning by gardaí investigating the attack, for which no motive has been confirmed at this stage of the inquiry. However, it is understood that the man or his partner were not known to gardaí in relation to criminal activity.
A media briefing is expected to be held locally later this afternoon to provide details of what is known so far and advise the public how they may be able to assist gardaí with their investigation.
The woman underwent surgery at Cork University Hospital in the early hours of this morning following the attack.
The couple were living at a house about 1.5km from Ballincollig town, in a rural area dotted with one-off houses a few hundred metres south of the busy N22 Cork-Macroom Road.
Gardaí continue to keep sealed off the short cul de sac where the bungalow was located, opposite a junction which the attackers may have taken to get away from the scene. The car in which they were travelling, understood to have been a BMW, was found few kilometres away at Waterfall this morning and has been removed for forensic examination.
Late this morning, gardaí also removed two vehicles from the property where the attack took place, which also appeared to have been in previous use as a farm. The Mercedes van and a KIA SUV-type vehicle were taken from the house by private removal truck.
At local Masses in Ballincollig this morning, prayers were said for the dead man as news began to emerge that he had died from his injuries.
Local councillor Daithi O Donnabhain said what he understood of the crime was shocking and worrying.
“For an organised gang to break into a one-off country house in the middle of the night and set upon and attack an individual who then loses his life, it’s just awful. And God help those children who must have at least heard what went on,” he said.
“My thoughts and sympathies go to the family and friends of the man who has lost his life,” the local Fianna Fail councillor said.
A French man who was out cycling said he had lived in the area for decades and had never heard of any major incident before this morning.
A motive for the attack is not known at this juncture. The victim had lived in Ireland for a number of years and ran a local gardening business.
A man attacked by a number of men with weapons in Cork this morning has died.
He, along with his partner, were taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment.
The man died of very serious injuries in the hospital while his partner, a woman in her 30s, suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
It happened after a group of men forced their way into their isolated bungalow in the Maglin Road area of Ballincollig.
The investigation has now been upgraded from aggravated burglary to a murder investigation and the scene has been preserved for a technical examination.
A post-mortem will be carried out later.
Local Councillor Daithí O'Donnabháin told Rob McNamara of the Evening Echo the area of Ballincollig is in shock over the incident, especially as young children were in the home at the time of the assault.
“There is a family who were in the house with young children and you have to think of the trauma that they must be going through at this time,” he said.
“Your heart would have to go out to them and the family. No doubt, there will be a level of high trauma and shock because this would have had to have been seen and witnessed by them.
“The location where it happened is at the edge of the town where it heads toward the Ballinora-Waterfall parish. There are not a lot of houses surrounding the location of this incident,” he added.
A man and woman are in hospital after being attacked by a number of men with weapons in Cork.
Gardaí believed that a number of men with weapons went into the couple's house in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, and assaulted them shortly after 3am this morning.
They were taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment where the man's injuries are described as very serious, while his partner's injuries, a woman in her 30s, are not believed to be life-threatening.
There was another woman, in her early 30s, and two children under six years in the house at the time of the incident and they were unharmed.
The house has been preserved for a technical examination, and a car was found burnt out a number of kilometres away in Waterfall, Co. Cork, and this has also been preserved for a technical examination.
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses, or anyone with information, to contact them at Gurranabraher on 021 4946200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
- Digital Desk