Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

CITY TRIBUNE

Stalker used scaffold pole to access female student’s flat

Published

on

A stalker used a scaffolding pole to climb onto the balcony of a young woman’s apartment, before walking in through an open door and assaulting her flatmate with a claw hammer as she slept on a couch.

Igor Lewandowski (20), formerly of Dunaras, Bishop O’Donnell Road, was a first year engineering student at NUIG when he became obsessed with another student and began to stalk her incessantly earlier this year.

Lewandowski, who secured 565 points in his Leaving Cert results, used his engineering skills to locate the best vantage point in the student accommodation complex where the young woman lived, from where he could simultaneously check her movements along either of two paths leading to and from her apartment.  The hidden vantage point also afforded him a clear view of the woman’s bedroom window and the front door leading to her apartment block.

Lewandowski pleaded guilty last month before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to harassing the female student at Dún na Coiribe, Headford Road, and also at various other locations around Galway City on dates between May 10 and May 27 last, contrary to Section 10 (1) and (6) of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary by breaking into her apartment at Dún na Coiribe on March 27 last, while having a silver claw hammer with him which he used to assault another female, causing her harm, contrary to Section 13 (1) and (3) of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

The accused, who moved from Poland to Monasterevin in Kildare with his family ten years ago, has been held on remand since his arrest in connection with the offences last May and has recently been put on 23-hour lockdown in prison for his own protection.

Five bail applications which he made to both the District Court and High Court in the intervening period, were all refused.

He was due to be sentenced last week, but appeared in custody before the court ahead of that schedule when he lodged a sixth bail application.

Detective Bernard McLoughlin strenuously objected to the application, telling the court the accused was a flight risk and that both women lived in fear of him.

Outlining his objections to bail, Det McLoughlin said this was a very unusual case and that he could not emphasise enough the impact it was having on both women.

He said the harassment began in early May when the accused began to watch and beset the young woman he became infatuated with.

They had met through mutual friends in NUIG but as time went on the accused became infatuated and besotted with her. He discovered where she worked in a shop and during Garda interviews, he admitted following her to her place of work and watching her. He followed her when she took her lunch breaks and after work, followed her when she went to pubs and restaurants with her friends.

He would then follow her as she made her way home to the Dún na Coiribe student village.

Det McLoughlin said Lewandowski told him during interview that he had created a vantage point for himself from where he could watch two pathways simultaneously to monitor the woman’s movements as she came and went from her accommodation.

“He could also monitor the front door to the apartment block and had a viewing point to her bedroom as well,” Det McLoughlin said.

The young woman and her housemates became aware Lewandowski was following them, but they thought it would stop and he would go away in time.

However, on May 17 last, the doorbell rang at 9am and when the young woman looked out the upstairs window, she saw the accused hiding in bushes outside. She immediately rang the Gardaí.

On May 26, Lewandowski appeared to bump into the woman by chance on campus.  She became afraid and went straight home but shortly afterwards, she saw him outside the apartment again.

Det McLoughlin said that due to the seriousness of the offence, a warning was circulated to Lewandowski to see what his intentions were.  The following morning Gardaí received an emergency call from the woman that one of her housemates had been assaulted by the accused in the apartment.

Gardaí discovered the accused had entered the property by using a scaffolding pole to get onto the balcony and from there he went into the apartment through an unlocked door.

Her flatmate, who had locked herself out of her own bedroom the night before and had slept on the couch instead, woke up to find the accused repeatedly hitting her with a claw hammer. She managed to fend off the blows with her duvet. The accused fled and jumped off the balcony.

Gardai found a knife on the ground near where he had jumped.

Lewandowski was found a short time later “crawling across the Dyke Road”.

During subsequent Garda interviews, he claimed he only wanted to talk to the woman and get €200 which he had lent back from her.

“We aren’t sure what his true intentions were,” Det McLoughlin added.

He said the accused was of Polish heritage and while his immediate family lived in Monasterevin, he had extended family in Poland.

The detective said he believed that if the accused was given bail he would be a serious flight risk.

“I can’t emphasise enough the impact this case has had on the two victims.  The girl he was stalking is here, but the girl he attacked with the hammer is doing exams today and cannot be here,” Det McLoughin explained.

“This bail hearing has caused serious anxiety for both of them, especially the girl doing her exams today.

“He’s a very intelligent man and if he’s granted bail, both women will be homeless this Christmas because they will have to leave their accommodation.

“They’ve told me that after he finishes whatever sentence he gets, they will have to leave Galway City because they will not feel safe once he’s free.

“Both of them are receiving counselling at the moment and this has had a very serious effect on their lives.”

Mr Patrick O’Sullivan BL, defending, said he was very conscious this was a bail hearing and he didn’t want to stray into evidence that would be given at the sentence hearing.

He noted the detective thought his client was intelligent, before suggesting the extent to which his client had co-operated during Garda interview, would not suggest he was intelligent.

“Are you suggesting that honestly shows a lack of intelligence?,” Judge Rory McCabe asked counsel.

Mr O’Sullivan replied he was merely saying his client had given more information to Det McLoughlin than what the Garda had been looking for.

Mr O’Sullivan said his client denied he had the knife found outside the apartment and it was quite possible the knife had been there already.

Det McLoughlin said he found that hard to believe but it was possible.

Mr O’Sullivan said his client’s father was prepared to enter into a bond and was in a position to lodge €18,000 in court to secure his son’s bail.

Det McLoughlin said nothing would allay his fears of the impact it would have on the victims if the accused was given bail. And he said he felt the injured parties would still be at risk from the accused.

“During interview, I could see no remorse from him.  He couldn’t see what he did was wrong, including assaulting a female with a hammer,” he added.

Mr O’Sullivan said his client was prepared to stay out of Galway until his sentence hearing and if given a suspended sentence he would move to Dublin and attend college there next September.

Judge Rory McCabe said the accused had pleaded guilty to very serious offences which had a serious impact on the victims.

He said Lewandowski’s status had changed once he pleaded guilty last month and he could see no grounds for granting him bail this week knowing that sentence would be taking place next week.

He refused the bail application and remanded the accused in continuing custody to next week, December 18, for sentence.

Mr O’Sullivan asked for that date to be vacated as he needed time to secure a probation report and a psychological report on his client prior to sentence taking place.

The judge agreed and remanded Lewandowski in continuing custody to February 21 for sentence.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending