Fifth person arrested over death of Mikolaj Wilk

Officers detain Latvian national as part of their investigation into Co Cork killing

Elzbieta and Mikolaj Wilk. File Photograph: Provision

Gardai have arrested a fifth person about the murder of father of two who was killed by a machete-wielding gang in front of his wife and children at their isolated home in Co Cork last year.

Officers investigating the murder of Micholaj Wilk (35), a Polish national, who had been living in Ireland for nine years, arrested a 29-year-old Latvian on Cork's northside at about 10am on Wednesday. They brought him to Gurranebraher Garda Station for questioning.

The man is being detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows gardaí detain suspects for up to seven days before they have to be charged or released He iis being questioned by a dedicated team of detectives working exclusively on the Wilk investigation.

The arrest of the Latvian man follows the arrest at around 6.30am on Wednesday morning in Mayfield of a 35-year-old Irish man who continues to be questioned at Togher Garda station where he is too is detained under the provisions of Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.


The arrests bring to five the number of people arrested by gardai investigating Mr Wilk's murder and they follow the arrest on January 22nd last of two Poles and a Latvian, all in their 30s, at two separate locations in Ballincollig and a third location in Togher on the south side of Cork city.

All three were arrested on suspicion of facilitating and support an organised crime gang whom gardai suspect were behind Mr Wilk’s murder and they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act before later being released without charge.

Last week at Cork City Coroner's Court, Sgt Fergus Twomey applied for an adjournment of the inquest into Mr Wilk's death, telling Cork City Coroner, Philip Comyn that the investigation remained "live, active and ongoing".

Mr Wilk was fatally injured when he was attacked by a machete wielding gang when they broke into the house he shared with his wife, Elzbeta and their two young children at Maglin near Ballincollig in Mid-Cork on June 10th last.

Mr Wilk was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital after suffering a number of serious slash and hacking wounds to his arms and legs but he died there soon after and gardai began a murder inquiry on receipt of post-mortem results.

Mr Wilk's inquest was first opened on November 1st last year when Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster said Mr Wilk had died from shock and haemorrhage due to multiple blows from sharp weapons in association with a traumatic brain injury.

Gardai have remained tight-lipped about their investigation but privately several have expressed confidence that they will solve the killing which, experienced officers described as one of the most violent that they had ever seen in Cork.

However, officers have refused to be drawn on a motive for the killing but say that they have found no evidence to suggest that Mr Wilk was involved in any criminal activity though it's understood that their focus is on a foreign criminal gang from Eastern Europe with local Irish support.

Garda sources have confirmed to The Irish Times that gardai have mounted an extensive investigation into the killing of Mr Wilk with gardai taking over 300 witness statements and harvesting and viewing over 2,000 hours of CCTV footage at an incident room in Ballincollig Garda Station.

Late last June, Gardai carried out searches at six houses in Ballincollig, Ballinhassig, Grenagh and Blackpool as well as car sales business where it's believed Mr Wilk's killers bought a BMW which was found on fire in nearby Waterfall on the night of the killing.

Nine vehicles, including two vans which were seized at the seven premises, were sent by gardai for technical examination and it’s understood that the searches and seizures of vehicles also stemmed from an examination of Mr Wilk’s phone records and email records to see who was in contact with.

The investigation has involved a number of specialist Garda units including ballistics and fingerprint experts as well as scene of crime examiners while gardai have also been liaising with police forces in Eastern Europe through Europol and Interpol to try and trace possible suspects in the murder.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times