Man strangled wife to death after she was out with another man, court told

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter of his wife in family home, but not guilty to murder

Gardaí arrested Mr Karaczyn and after some time he told them a ‘story’ that he had no part in her death but had discovered her body and, in panic, had moved her. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Gardaí arrested Mr Karaczyn and after some time he told them a ‘story’ that he had no part in her death but had discovered her body and, in panic, had moved her. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A father-of-three strangled his wife to death when she arrived home in the early hours having had sexual intercourse with another man, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Opening the trial of Rafal Karaczyn on Thursday, Conor Devally SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the accused man’s marriage to Natalia Karaczyn was “not terribly happy” but they stayed living together for their children, to whom they were devoted.

Natalia was “anxious to move on” from the marriage, Mr Devally said, and on the Saturday night before she died she went out with friends and went to another man’s house where she had consensual sexual intercourse.

When she returned home at about 6am her husband “intruded” into her bedroom as she prepared to go to bed, counsel said. A row erupted and Mr Karaczyn strangled his wife.

The 35-year-old, of Crozon Park, Sligo has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old wife at their family home in Crozon Park between April 29th, 2018 and May 1st, 2018.

Following the opening, Brendan Grehan SC for Mr Karaczyn said his client accepts that he unlawfully killed his wife by strangling her and that he alone was responsible for her death.

Mr Karaczyn also admits that he lied to his wife’s sister and to gardaí about what happened to his wife. The issue to be decided by the jury, Mr Grehan said, will relate to the mental state of the accused when he strangled his wife.

Mr Devally told the jury of eight women and four men that the Karaczyns are from Poland but moved to Sligo and in 2018 lived at Crozon Park with their three children.

The evidence, counsel said, “will make clear that the marriage was not terribly happy.”

It was “functional” and for the sake of their children they continued to live together, sleeping in separate bedrooms.

They planned to move into separate homes but, Mr Devally said, had different views as to how that would happen. Of the two, he said, Natalia was the more anxious to move on and enjoyed a separate social life from her husband.

She had a number of friends and would socialise at weekends, sometimes coming home late.

“That may have been a cause of tension,” Mr Devally said.

On the Saturday night before she died Ms Karaczyn went out with friends to various pubs in Sligo where she met a young man and “quickly formed an attraction”.

She went to his house and had consensual sexual intercourse before getting a taxi home at about 6am. She would not be seen alive again.

Mr Devally said later that morning the accused made “bogus” calls and texts to his wife’s sister saying that Natalia had not come home.

There was panic, counsel said, as Ms Karaczyn’s family and friends contacted hospitals and friends “far and wide” to find out where she was.

Gardaí, having checked CCTV, arrested Mr Karaczyn and after some time he told them a “story” that he had no part in her death but had discovered her body and, in panic, had moved her.

He told gardaí where she could be found close to a roadway not far from Sligo.

Mr Devally told the jury that they will learn that Mr Karaczyn “maintained that he was guiltless” for her death and said someone else had “intruded” into the house.

He eventually relented, Mr Devally said, and told his sister-in-law what had happened: that his wife was in her bedroom when a row erupted and he strangled her.

The trial continues in front of the jury and Ms Justice Eileen Creedon.