Man apologises to wife for attempting to murder her

Husband tried to kill her by hitting her on the head with a hammer while she slept

Andrzej Benko at Dublin Central Criminal Court where his sentencing was adjourned. Photograph: Collins Courts

Andrzej Benko at Dublin Central Criminal Court where his sentencing was adjourned. Photograph: Collins Courts

Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 16:12

A father of one has apologised to his wife for attempting to murder her by hitting her over her head with a hammer on her birthday while she slept.

Andrzej Benko (42) of Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart had admitted hitting Joanna Benko’s head with a lump hammer at least three times. However, he had pleaded not guilty to her attempted murder at that address on July 5th, 2010.

However last month, the jury took under three hours to reach a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Mrs Benko is confined to a wheelchair most of the time as a result of her injuries, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Now 35, she also has communication difficulties, will depend on full-time care for the rest of her life and is no longer able to look after her son.

Today Benko wept while he addressed the court to apologise to his wife and her family who were present for the hearing.

“I want to apologise to my wife and child and also her family and I’m so sorry and I never was looking for reason.

“I know nobody has right to hurt anybody and I understand how strong my wife is traumatised and her family,” he said.

Detective Garda Patrick Traynor told Mr Dominic McGinn SC prosecuting that Benko had no previous convictions.

Benko arrived to Blanchardstown Garda station on July 5th, 2010 and said he had killed his wife.

He phoned emergency services and gave sufficient information for emergency services to attend to her.

On arrival they found Mrs Benko sustained significant injuries to her head, the court heard.

She was brought to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown and transferred to Beaumont Hospital.

There were at least three injuries to her head, which affected her mental function and fundamentally changed her life.

She has improved her mobility but is still unable to care for herself or her child.

The court heard that the couple had been having marital problems, with Benko telling gardaí that his wife had been taking and dealing drugs and spending all his money.

Despite their difficulties, Benko went out and bought her 10 red roses and flowers on the morning of her 32nd birthday, and was planning to take her out to dinner that evening.

However he said she was in a deep sleep and didn’t wake when he tried to talk to her on his return. He said he was disappointed.

He saw a lump hammer while looking for a vase for the flowers and thought about hitting her with it. Then, instead of bringing her the roses, he carried the hammer upstairs and hit her with it three times as she lay sleeping.

After the assault, Benko got into his car and drove the short journey to Blanchardstown Garda station, calling the emergency services on the way.