A man killed six people, including his wife and two young children, in a brutal knife attack because he could not face the break-up of his marriage, a court has heard.
Damian Rzeszowski (aged 31) is accused of murdering his wife Izabela Rzeszowska, (aged 30) along with their daughter Kinga, five, and two-year-old son Kacper, in St Helier, Jersey, on August 14 last year.
The Polish national is also accused of murdering his wife’s father Marek Garstka (aged 56), his wife's friend Marta De La Haye (aged 34) and Mrs De La Haye’s five-year-old daughter Julia.
Rzeszowski pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility in April, but the manslaughter pleas were not accepted by the Crown, which argues that the defendant was not suffering an “abnormality of the mind” when the attacks took place.
The Royal Court in St Helier heard that Rzeszowski’s rampage took place against a backdrop of increasing marital difficulties between himself and his wife.
Solicitor General Howard Sharp, for the prosecution, told the presiding judge Michael Birt and two jurats – similar to magistrates in mainland UK – who are judging the case: “Until around June 2011 the defendant’s day-to-day behaviour was unremarkable, but things changed in June and July.
“What was the cause of that change? The answer is to be found in the state of the defendant’s marriage.
“It had been in difficulties before the incident happened, but by this time it was under great strain.”
Mr Sharp explained that during this period Mrs Rzeszowska admitted to her husband that she had been having a two-month affair with another man and she threatened to commit suicide.
After learning of his wife’s infidelity, Rzeszowski started going out drinking and had a one-night stand, before taking an overdose of pills on July 19.
In an attempt to save their marriage, the couple decided to travel to Poland to visit their families.
“However, the problems remained and the defendant visited a prostitute while he was in Poland,” Mr Sharp said.
The knife attack took place in the couple’s home in Victoria Crescent, St Helier, on the day they returned from their holiday.
“The state of their marriage was a determining factor in the defendant’s behaviour in June and July last year,” Mr Sharp said.
“He could not face the prospect of a failed marriage.”