Polish community gather in solidarity with the family of murdered father-of-two

By Olivia Kelleher

Members of the Polish community gathered in solidarity this evening at a special mass held in memory of father-of-two Mikolaj Wilk who was murdered in a machete attack in Ballincollig, Co Cork at the weekend.

One woman entered St Augustine’s Church in Cork city centre at 7pm holding a bunch of white flowers.

Individuals spoke of their profound sorrow and shock at the death of a native of their home country in such unimaginable circumstances.

Kasia Kasperkiewcz, who has lived in Douglas, on the southside of Cork city for twelve years, said her heart went out to a family from her homeland who had lost a husband and father in such an inhumane way.

Kasia Kasperkiewicz and her daughters. Pic: David Keane

“We have deep compassion for the family. We will try to support them. We are in not in fear but we are shocked. We are praying for them."

Polish national Izabella Prochal who has been based in Ireland for over a decade said there is nervousness in the community following the death of 35-year-old Mikolaj (Nick) Wilk.

“I am very unhappy because it is a tragedy for the family and for our community. I hope there is still safety in Cork. I hope the garda will find the person.”

Another Polish woman, who declined to be named, said she knew the wife of the deceased, Elzbieta, casually and that the Wilk family “were like everyone we know.”

The chief celebrant at the mass and chaplain to the local Polish community, Fr Piotr Galus, said they normally gathered for Christmas, Easter and special occasions. Instead they were showing support for a family in “suffering.”

Polish chaplain Fr Pitor Galus, celebrating mass for the Wilk family of Ballincollig, at St Augustine's Church, Washington Street, Cork. Pic: David Keane

“We pray for the soul of Mikolaj. We also pray for his wife, his children, his family and his friends.”

He stated that parishioners would do everything possible to support the family of Mr Wilk in this time of anguish and sorrow.

Meanwhile, gardaí are renewing their appeal in relation to the murder of Mikolaj at The Bridge House, Maglin, Ballincollig on Sunday.

Superintendent Colm O Sullivan said they are continuing to appeal to anyone with information to contact them.

“A number of people have come forward with information and we wish to thank the public for their assistance in the investigation thus far.

"However, we are aware of a number of taxis and hackneys that were operating in the Maglin, Ballincollig, Ballinora and Waterfall areas on the night of the incident who have not come forward.

"I would appeal to them to contact us at Gurranabraher Garda Station on 021- 4946200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station. Any information they may have, no matter how insignificant would assist our investigation."

Members of the Polish community in Cork, attending the mass. Pic: David Keane

A postmortem indicated that the deceased died of multiple injuries including stab wounds.

No specific details of the injuries have been made public.

Mr Wilk died at CUH at around 5.30am on Sunday.

His wife, Elzbieta, incurred facial injuries and is currently without the use of three of her fingers after she and her husband were set upon by a gang of up to four men who entered the family home after 3am on Sunday.

A second woman in her 30s, who was renting a room in the house, managed to escape through a window of the bungalow.

Mr and Mrs Wilk's children were also present. The children, who are aged four and five, were unharmed in the incident.

The men entered the secluded bungalow in Ballincollig armed with weapons.

There is no clear motive for the murder. Mikolaj Wilk was not known to gardaí.

Elzbieta Wilk underwent surgery on her hands on Monday at CUH. She incurred damage to her tendons in the attack in addition to head and facial injuries.

Mikolaj and Elzbieta Wilk with their children. Pic: Go Fund Me

Friends have described Mikolaj as a kind father with a strong work ethic who ran his own gardening business.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family with expenses.

Both Irish and Polish people have donated to the fund which has reached in excess of €16,000.

Mikolaj and Elzbieta were due to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary in late June.

Gardaí responded to the incident at 3.17am on Sunday and were on the scene in less than five minutes.

The assailants had fled the area at this point in a car.

At 4am on Sunday Cork County Service Fire responded to the scene of a fire of a car in nearby Waterfall.

A BMW Three Series car, which gardaí believe the men were driving, was burned out.

The car has been forensically examined. House to house inquiries are ongoing as are CCTV checks in the area.

Donations can be made to to the Go Fund Me Page at www.gofundme.com/help-for-mikolaj-wilk-family

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