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Family's hell Murdered mum Elzbieta Piotrowska brought killer son to Ireland 'to save him from criminals'

Hard-working Polish parents paid off their delusional child's drug debts and found him a job only for new life to turn to horror

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Elzbieta Piotrowska was murdered by her son, Tomasz Krzysztof Piotrowski

Elzbieta Piotrowska was murdered by her son, Tomasz Krzysztof Piotrowski

Elzbieta Piotrowska was murdered by her son, Tomasz Krzysztof Piotrowski

A mother decapitated by her own son was a devoted parent who had moved him from Poland to Ireland in a bid to keep him safe from criminals the Sunday World has learned.

Loving mum Elzbieta Piotrowska and her husband Krzystof, also secured employment for son Tomasz at the Ardee company where they both worked - as they desperately tried to assimilate him into Irish life.

But, in a heart-breaking turn of events, the family's dream of making a life for themselves in Ireland would be brutally shattered on January 8, 2019 - when Elzbieta's decapitated body was found in her Ardee home and Tomasz arrested hours later.

Trapped in an ongoing state of psychosis brought on by long-term drug abuse, the Central Criminal Court heard this week that Tomasz (35) held a range of ongoing and delusional beliefs including that the deceased is not his real mother but a witch who used black magic to harm him.

The truth, however, according to friends of Elzbieta and Krzystof spoken to by the Sunday World this week, was very different.

And in interviews with this newspaper they instead paint a picture of a hard-working couple who came to Louth to raise and keep safe their family - before being overcome by the nightmare and tragedy brought on Tomasz's drug use and increasingly erratic behaviour.

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Gardaí seen removing the body of Elzbieta Piotrowska from her home in Ardee

Gardaí seen removing the body of Elzbieta Piotrowska from her home in Ardee

Gardaí seen removing the body of Elzbieta Piotrowska from her home in Ardee

"Krzystof and Ella would have come to us in 2012," former employer at Ardee Coach Trim, Ann Lennon this week told the Sunday World.

"She initially worked cleaning houses while Krzystof worked here in the wax shed at Coach Trim. Krzystof was a very hard-working respectful man and his wife Ella was exactly the same.

"She cleaned my house and she did my sister-in-law's because I was working full-time back then.

"And then she came and started working on the floor here in Coach Trim and, in fact, when he (Tomasz) was coming over after them, they begged us to give him a job."

Ann and husband Frankie did give Tomasz a job and further tried to help him assimilate into life in Ardee by having him join their own sons in playing rugby.

"We did get Tomasz into playing rugby with our lads but he didn't last at that," Ann said sadly. "Even at that stage he was kind of going off the rails."

Some time after this, Ann and Frankie found themselves in the difficult position of having to let Tomasz go from the company after an incident where he threatened another employee.

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Tomasz Piotrowska believed his mother was a witch who used black magic

Tomasz Piotrowska believed his mother was a witch who used black magic

Tomasz Piotrowska believed his mother was a witch who used black magic

Also, unbeknownst to friends, Elzbieta and Krzystof spent almost every penny of their savings, €7,000 in total, paying off drugs debts their son had accrued to local criminals.

In spite of all this misfortune, Krzystof and Elzbieta, a former Olympic gymnast with Poland, made an asset of themselves to the community of Ardee.

"As a mother," Ann Lennon recalls, "she was very loving and devoted and they were very hard working. They were starting a life here and their home in Ardee was beautiful.

"She used to show me how she'd decorate her home for Christmas and, I wouldn't be an interior design person or anything like that, but Ella's home would be like something out of a magazine.

"I don't know how you'd describe the quality and standard of what she was doing.

"It was artistic. And the house was always spotless and beautiful.

"Krzystof loved gardening … and do you know what he was really good at? Recycling!

"Everything that would look like a bit of waste round here, Krzystof would take it home and make it into a raised flower bed or a frame for his vegetables!

"He was very green-fingered and proud of his gardens.

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Loving mum Elzbieta Piotrowska with her husband
Krzystof.

Loving mum Elzbieta Piotrowska with her husband Krzystof.

Loving mum Elzbieta Piotrowska with her husband Krzystof.

"They were happy here … oh God they were. I'm sure of that. A big gentleman he was, even though his job here was hard.

"He worked in the wax shed where they do the under-body wax but there would never be an ounce of complaint from him.

"He was always respectful and gracious."

As the years went by, neighbours of Krzystof and Elzbieta in the quite estate of Clonmore, Ardee, told how Tomasz left home and his sister Justyna married and moved back to Poland.

Krzystof and Elzbieta became firmly integrated in the community and were popular with both their Polish and Irish neighbours alike.

Krzystof, a tall, strong gregarious man who liked a beer and a chat, and his slightly more serious but friendly and hard-working wife known to all as Ella.

And then the inexplicable happened.

On January 8 last year, a friend of Elzbieta's called to her home to take her shopping in Dundalk. The friend rang the doorbell a number of times but there was no answer and when she looked through the letterbox she could see a light on inside and hear the dog barking.

The woman tried to call Elzbieta's mobile phone and she could hear the phone ringing inside. She went to the rear of the property to get access through the patio doors, which were unlocked and she found her friend's body lying in a quantity of blood in the hallway of the house.

Elzbieta's head had been removed from her body and it was further down the hallway, detectives this week told the Central Criminal Court, while a broken part of a knife blade was also found on the deceased.

There were multiple stab wounds to her shoulder, neck and right arm and the cause of death was decapitation.

A small axe and a number of Stanley knives, one of which was blood-stained were found close to her body and it was determined that they had been used to remove the head.

Threatened

Tomasz would be arrested a short time later at his home in Cherrybrook, Ardee.

In his initial interviews, he maintained he knew nothing about the killing of his mother and said he had been threatened by a man to whom he owed money for drugs.

He said these men must have murdered his mother and ultimately denied having anything to do with the incident.

But further enquiries revealed that he had purchased the Stanley knives on the evening before the killing.

Krzystof told gardaí his son had developed psychiatric issues from drug use two years previously and had been admitted to hospital.

Tomasz, the court also heard, had repeated delusional beliefs that the deceased was not his birth mother.

When gardaí checked his phone they found a false DNA test, which showed Elzbieta was not his mother and the accused had sent this to other family members weeks before her killing.

However, this was discounted by Forensic Science Ireland, whose tests showed that his parents were his biological parents.

Gardaí also found a photo of the accused kissing his girlfriend and holding an axe behind her head, which she was unaware of.

There was another photo of the accused's hallway where he had positioned an effigy to look like a blood-stained body and written "you're next" on the floor.

Sentencing Tomasz to life in prison this week, Mr Justice Michael White noted the case was the second in a matter of months where long-term drug addiction had led to a drug-induced psychosis that resulted in "the most horrific of tragedies".

In the aftermath of his wife's murder, Krzystof returned to Poland - unable to continue to reside in the home where his wife had been murdered.

"His world imploded around him that day … the cut was too deep, the spark went out of his eye," Ann Lennon said.

"He even shrunk in size straight away after it happened. It took an awful lot out of him. His only son had killed his beautiful wife.

"And then, we heard a year ago, that Krzystof had developed cancer and it was very advanced. It's all so very sad.

"But the one thing we can say about Krzystof and Ella is two nicer people, very respectable, honest and hard-working you could not have asked to find."

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