Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Polish woman’s killing of husband ‘was an accident’

A Polish mother who lashed out at her husband who later died, and her brother who tried to cover for her, will both find out next week what sentence they will face.

Teresa Rafacz (29) admits the manslaughter of her husband Piotr Rafacz, while her 27-year-old brother Pawel Czop withheld information from the police by failing to reveal he was standing behind her when she had kicked out at her husband.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Rafacz, from Glenvarlock Street, Belfast, had returned to the couple’s then Cliftonville Road flat from work to find her husband Piotr had abandoned their three-year-old son to go drinking.

Defence QC Arthur Harvey said that she found him lying on her bed in a drunken stupor, his face bloodied and cut.

He added that when she later kicked out at him after she and her brother dragged him to a back corridor so their son would not see him, “she did not intend to cause the death or serious harm to her husband”.

Mr Harvey said the prosecution accepted her guilty plea on the basis of “involuntary manslaughter” and that what happened was “a momentary loss of control by a woman... exhausted by the damage that was being done to her and her child by her husband”.

Lawyer Mark Farrell, for her brother Pawel, said he had just been trying to “shield” his sister, and that the impact of what he'd initially told police had a minimal effect on their investigations.

Mr Justice Hart, who released them on continuing bail, said he would sentence them next Friday, but warned that they could still receive custodial sentences.

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