Killer should have been in psychiatric hospital before death in prison – family

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The family of a killer who was found hanging in his cell seven years after stabbing to death his wife, two children and three other people believe he should have been in a psychiatric hospital rather than prison, an inquest has heard.

Damian Rzeszowski, who was 37 when he died, killed Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, Kinga, five, and Kacper, two, in St Helier, Jersey, in August 2011, after a barbecue.

He also killed his father-in-law, his wife’s friend and her daughter.

He was later jailed for 30 years for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Marta De La Haye, 34, and her daughter Julia Frances
Marta De La Haye, 34, and her daughter Julia Frances were killed by Rzeszowski after being invited to a barbecue (Jersey Police/PA)

A statement was read to the court by Pc Kalina Tyszeca, a British police officer tasked with talking to Rzeszowski’s parents in Poland.

In the statement, the officer said the killer’s father complained to her about his son’s treatment in prison.

She said he told her “his son should have been in a mental hospital, not a segregation unit, due to his mental health”.

Pc Tyszeca said the family were so worried about him they had been trying to contact the Polish embassy for help.

Kinga, five, right, and Kacper Rzeszowski, two
Kinga, five, right, and Kacper Rzeszowski, two, died at the hands of their father (Jersey Police/PA)

The officer said the family told her Rzeszowski grew up in Poland and had no mental health problems before marrying and moving to Jersey in 2004.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks told the jury the sentencing judge in Jersey in 2012 remarked that, unlike in England and Wales, he did not have the power to send a prisoner to a secure mental hospital, like Broadmoor or Rampton, but expressed the hope it could be facilitated once he was in the UK prison system.

The coroner said it appeared from the records that Rzeszowski spent some time being assessed at Broadmoor at some point while still in custody in Jersey.

Former prison psychiatric nurse Kevin Brennan, who worked at Full Sutton between 2004 and 2022, said a thorough assessment was carried out by a consultant psychiatrist after Rzeszowski got there in 2013 and the decision was made not to refer him to a secure hospital.

Izabela Rzeszowska
Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, also died (Jersey Police/PA)

He said Rzeszowski’s treatment was scaled down in 2015 after he showed improvements but, in January 2018, he self-harmed and tried to overdose, resulting in him being placed in segregation under a closer supervision regime.

Mr Brennan said a psychiatrist decided Rzeszowski was showing signs of psychotic illness and, when he did not comply with his medication, a referral was made to Broadmoor special hospital two weeks before his death.

Marek Garstka
Marek Garstka, 56, was the killer’s father-in-law (Jersey Police/PA)

The inquest, which is due to last nine days, was adjourned until Tuesday.

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