Man stalked woman for weeks before climbing into flat armed with hammer

Igor Lewandowski (20) to be sentenced in May after risk of future offending assessed

Igor Ledwandowski (20) pleaded guilty in November to harassing Eve McDowell at Dún na Coiribe, Headford Road, and other locations around Galway between May 10th and May 27th last.  Photograph: Hany Marzouk.

Igor Ledwandowski (20) pleaded guilty in November to harassing Eve McDowell at Dún na Coiribe, Headford Road, and other locations around Galway between May 10th and May 27th last. Photograph: Hany Marzouk.

 

A stalker used a scaffolding pole to climb onto the balcony of a woman’s apartment before walking in an open door and assaulting her sleeping flatmate with a hammer, Galway Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Igor Lewandowski (20), of Monasterevin, Co Kildare, and formerly of Dunaras, Bishop O’Donnell Road, Galway, was studying electronic engineering at NUI Galway when he became obsessed with Eve McDowell (20).

Lewandowski pleaded guilty in November to harassing Ms McDowell at Dún na Coiribe, Headford Road, and at other locations in Galway between May 10th and May 27th last.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary by breaking into her apartment on May 27th last, while in possession of a silver claw hammer which he used to assault Ms McDowell’s flatmate, Alison Buicke.

The accused, who moved from Poland to Co Kildare with his family 10 years ago, has been refused bail a number of times sinces his arrest.

In a victim impact statement, read into evidence at Lewandowski’s sentencing hearing on Friday, Ms McDowell said she suffered from night terrors, could not go out alone at night and was continually looking over her shoulder.

“My trust in everyone, especially men, has been completely destroyed. This has distorted my view of people’s intentions, shattered my confidence and has stripped me of my independence,” she said.

‘Won’t feel safe

“Once my stalker gets out, I will have to leave Galway along with my friends and the life that I have worked so hard to build here. I won’t feel safe here.”

Ms McDowell said the court process had been long but she encouraged other victims of stalking to contact gardaí.

The court heard that Lewandowski had followed Ms McDowell as she went to and from college, her accommodation, her place of work, when she met friends and went out at night. Her friends confronted him during a night out but he ran away and hid. They told him he was easily recognisable because of his hair, eyebrows and beard.

Det Garda Bernard McLoughlin said after that incident, Ms McDowell’s doorbell rang early on May 17th and she could see Lewandowski pressed up against a window at her front door. She became extremely concerned and upset when she realised he had shaved off his beard, eyebrows and hair, and dialled 999.

Ms McDowell made a statement recounting the stalking and gardaí circulated Lewandowski’s details to all Garda units in Galway. However, he could not be located.

Lewandowski returned to the apartment complex on May 27th armed with a hammer and used a scaffolding pole to reach her first floor balcony. He entered through an open door and attacked Ms Buicke as she slept. She used a duvet to fend off the blows but suffered defensive injuries.

Crawling

Lewandowski jumped from the balcony when she raised the alarm. He injured his ankle doing so and was found crawling some 500m away by gardaí, who arrested him.

Det Garda McLoughlin said the accused told him he did not bring his phone to the apartment because it could have been used to trace his movements.

Lewandowski admitted that he calculated the best vantage points in the complex where Ms McDowell lived from which to watch her movements and found a spot that afforded him a clear view of her bedroom window.

Det McLoughlin said the accused had several opportunities to speak to Ms McDowell but always ran away when confronted.

Patrick O’Sullivan BL, defending, said his client had written a letter of apology to his victims and would undertake to move to college in Dublin and stay away from Galway.

Judge Rory McCabe adjourned sentencing to May 21st to allow Lewandowski to be assessed by a psychiatrist. He said issues raised in psychological and probation reports handed into court did not answer questions regarding the risks posed by the accused in the future.