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Murder Accused, Damian Rzeszowski, Haunted By 'Voices In His Head'

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Rzeszowski claims to have blacked out before the attacks took place.
Rzeszowski claims to have blacked out before the attacks took place.

A man who killed six people, including his wife and two young children, in a knife attack which took place a year to this day is haunted by voices in his head, a court has heard.

Damian Rzeszowski, 31, is accused of murdering his wife, Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, along with their daughter, Kinga, five, and two-year-old son, Kacper, in St Helier, Jersey, on 14 August last year.

The Polish national is also accused of the murders of his wife's father, Marek Garstka, 56, her friend, Marta De La Haye, 34, and Mrs De La Haye's five-year-old daughter, Julia De La Haye.

Rzeszowski has pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility, but the manslaughter pleas were not accepted by the Crown, who argue that the defendant was not suffering an "abnormality of the mind" when the attacks took place.

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Kinga Rzeszowski (right), five, and her brother, two-year-old Kacper

Giving evidence, consultant psychiatrist Dr Dale Harrison said that when he interviewed Rzeszowski five days after the attacks he found no definitive symptoms of psychosis.

But after re-examining Rzeszowski since he returned to Jersey after being treated in Broadmoor Hospital, Dr Harrison said: "For the last week he has continued to experience voices.

"These voices are related to stress he is under. His stress levels are up since leaving Broadmoor Hospital and being put in prison."

In the first interview Dr Harrison conducted with Rzeszowski on 19 August last year, the defendant said he could not remember what had happened.

Solicitor General Howard Sharp, for the prosecution, read from the notes the psychiatrist had written during the interview.

He read: "Damian said 'I just remember the knife. I remember bits and pieces, going behind wife and running behind her'.

"He stated he did not remember attacking the children. He did remember his father-in-law and later running behind his wife."

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Marta Dominika De La Haye and her daughter Julia Frances

At another point in the interview, Rzeszowski told Dr Harrison: "Everybody gone, it is father-in-law, my wife, my wife's friend and daughter. It is me, I did that."

He also told the doctor that he had had no previous thoughts of killing his family or anyone else because he was not "that type of man", although he later added: "Maybe when I was drunk or upset."

On Monday, the Royal Court in St Helier heard that Rzeszowski claims to have blacked out after cooking sausages at a barbecue at his family's home before the attacks took place.

He had drunk several glasses of whisky on the day of the attacks but was under the drink-drive limit.

Dr Dale said Rzeszowski is currently taking anti-depressants and the anxiety-relieving drug Diazepam.

Since the trial started he has seemed absent in the dock, staring at the floor at all times.

The court was shown the two kitchen knives that Rzeszowski used during the attacks as well as a painting that the children had been working on just before they were killed.

On the day of the attacks, Rzeszowski and his family had returned from a holiday to Poland.

His marriage was under "great strain" after his wife admitted to a two-month affair with another man.

Rzeszowski, who worked as a builder before his arrest, then had a one-night stand and visited a prostitute during the trip to his country.

After returning from their trip, he got into a discussion with his wife for leaving the children on their own in the house.

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Dominika De La Hayes' daughter Julia Frances (left) and Kinga Rzeszowski

But the prosecution says that, rather than flying into an instant rage, Rzeszowski waited an hour and three-quarters before butchering his family and their visitors.

The court heard he attacked his father-in-law first, catching him unawares while he watched Polish TV on his bed.

Kacper was stabbed 13 times with two different kitchen knives while he played with his toys, and the two little girls were also stabbed numerous times.

Mrs De La Haye, who had gone to the house with her daughter for a barbecue, staggered out into the street and collapsed outside the flat.

Mrs Rzeszowska climbed through the bathroom window as she tried to escape her husband and made a "desperate attempt" to call the police using her father's mobile phone.

She dialled 997, the Polish emergency services number, before being chased out into the street and stabbed again in front of neighbours.

Rzeszowski then went back inside his home in Victoria Crescent and started stabbing himself before slumping to the ground with a collapsed lung.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph, who examined Rzeszowski at Broadmoor in June, said the defendant had an "over-controlled" personality.

In certain circumstances, he said, this could lead to "extreme violence".

He said: "I would describe him as an individual who has difficulty expressing his feelings, who is over-controlled and is trying to contain these feelings.

"When he has drunk alcohol, that acts as a factor in him expressing these feelings that are controlled.

"Also, when he is in a stressful situation which is causing those feelings to build up, that is something he is going to find difficult to contain and which may eventually be expressed in extreme violence."

But Dr Joseph, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London, said that this aspect of Rzeszowski's character does not amount to a personality disorder or an abnormality of the mind.

He said Rzeszowski told him he had not slept with his wife since April 2011.

After finding out about his wife's infidelity in June, the defendant had gone to a party and had "casual sex" with an English girl, Dr Joseph said.

"Then he told Iza to get his own back after she had told him about her affair."

During their trip to Poland the couple had been staying in separate rooms at a relative's house.

Rzeszowski had visited a prostitute to "feel better", but did not tell his wife about the encounter, Dr Joseph said.

The trial was adjourned to Wednesday.