By Eoin Reynolds
A Polish man who beat his partner with a hammer and tried to suffocate her by stuffing underwear in her mouth has been sent to the Central Mental Hospital for treatment.
Tomas Gajowniczek (37) of The Ice Rink Apartments, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin 8 was last month found not guilty by reason of insanity of the attempted murder of his former partner Alicja Kalinowska (30) at their home on June 16, 2016.
The same verdict was returned in relation to a charge of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Ms Kalinowska.
During the trial the jury heard that Mr Gajowniczek punched Ms Kalinowska repeatedly in the face, stuffed underwear in her mouth and held her nose to stop her breathing. He beat her with a hammer and gouged her eyes with his thumbs.
Ms Kalinowska told the jury that she passed out when he put a bottle in her mouth and forced her to drink the contents. She awoke when a neighbour came knocking. She managed to get to the door before collapsing into her neighbour's arms.
Consultant psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) Dr Paul O'Connell today told Justice Patrick McCarthy that he interviewed Mr Gajowniczek on May 3 last.
Mr Gajowniczek told him that he was suffering headaches and pains in his limbs for the past ten years.
A month before the assault on his partner he said he noticed his urine and stools had changed colour and since going to prison he has formed the opinion that Ms Kalinowska was poisoning him with fluid drained from a car battery.
Dr O'Connell said he displayed other delusionary beliefs, such as that the assault was being discussed on the radio and he noted that Mr Gajowniczek accused Ms Kalinowska of assaulting him and claimed that he acted in self defence.
He denied using a hammer or stuffing underwear in her mouth.
The doctor said he believes Mr Gajowniczek is displaying persecutory beliefs, has paranoid schizophrenia with a delusional disorder and requires further treatment at the CMH.
Ronan Munro SC, representing Mr Gajowniczek, said his client is anxious to get whatever treatment is required.
Under Section 5 of the Criminal Law Insanity Act, Justice McCarthy committed Mr Gajowniczek to the CMH for ongoing treatment.
His treatment will be continuously reviewed and if recommended by his treating doctors, he could be released in future under Section 13 of the Act.
Ms Kalinowska told the trial that she started going out with Mr Gajowniczek in Poland in 2006 and they moved to Ireland to find work a few years later.
She got a job in a Subway sandwich shop in Dublin while he worked a night shift in a Maxol Garage. During one of his shifts there was a break-in and he was tied up and locked in a bathroom.
He was traumatised and came home that night shaking. He refused to go back to work and was prescribed Xanax for his anxiety.
He remained on social welfare after that and Ms Kalinowska noticed that his behaviour became strange following the death of his grandfather around Christmas 2015. He was upset that they didn't have enough money to travel to Poland for the funeral.
From January onward Ms Kalinowska noted a difference in him. He would insult her, call her names and accuse her of being a bad mother.
One night she was so upset by the abuse she walked out and went to the apartment of a male neighbour for a few hours.
When she returned Mr Gajowniczek accused her of cheating. She admitted that she kissed the neighbour, accepted she had done wrong and apologised to Tomas.
This, the prosecution said, was the background to the attack on June 16.
The prosecution called Professor Damian Mohan of the Central Mental Hospital who said that the accused was "furious" about Alicja's infidelity and due to long-term daily use of cannabis he was unable to control his anger.
Professor Mohan's colleague Dr Conor O'Neill disagreed, telling the trial that he had treated Mr Gajowniczek following his arrest and believed that Mr Gajowniczek was suffering from a delusional disorder at the time and therefore should qualify for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Dr O'Neill said the disorder led to bizarre beliefs that Ms Kalinowska was putting amphetamines in his milk, poisoning or drugging his food and drink and stealing his tax returns.
The jury accepted the defence evidence and returned a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict.