Man goes on trial accused of attacks on three women over a five year period

By Declan Brennan

A Dublin man has gone on trial accused of carrying out three attacks on women over a five year period.

Slawomir Gierlowski (33) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh is charged with falsely imprisoning and assaulting a woman in September 2016 at a location near Naas Rd., Clondalkin, Dublin. He is also charged with unlawfully having a hunting knife with intent to intimidate on the same occasion.

He is also charged with false imprisonment, sexual assault and assault of a second woman at another location in Clondalkin on September 3, 2015.

Finally he is charged with false imprisonment, sexual assault and assault of a third woman at this same location on September 11, 2011.

Today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Mr Gierlowski pleaded not guilty to all nine charges. A jury of 12 men has been empanelled for the trial.

On the first day of the trial a woman in her mid 20s described how she was left covered in blood after being attacked by a man outside her home in September 2011. She said she had gone out socialising earlier on the evening of September 10 and was walking home when she saw a man walking behind her very quickly.

She told Roisin Lacey SC, prosecuting, that she got a fright as the man was quite close. She said “hello” to the man and he said “hello” back and spoke in an eastern European accent.

This man walked on and she continued to walk home but was nervous. When she got to her driveway she turned around and a man lunged at her from behind, she said. He pushed her onto the ground and on her back and she was screaming for him to get off.

“He had his hand around my mouth. He was on top of me. I was trying to pull his hand off my mouth,” she testified. She said was screaming loudly at him to “please stop” and the man just said “sssh” to her.

She said she didn't see him because it was too dark and she was focused on fighting him off. Her attacker put his hand up her skirt and touched her genital area outside her underwear, the court heard.

The witness said the man was strong but she managed to kick out and get up from under him.

“I ran towards my door. He grabbed my arm and flung me around and I fell,” she said.

The man got on top of her again and put his two hands around her neck. The woman scratched and bit his face and the man began punching her.

She said he hit her around six times and then the attack just stopped. She ran to her house and was banging on the front door.

Her father told the trial that he was woken by the sounds of screaming and banging. He said he went to the front door.

“I could see my daughter’s face red with blood through the glass in the door,” he said. He said his daughter was still screaming when she came into the house and gardaí were called.

He said he ran outside and saw a parked car with unusual rear lights. His wife said their daughter was covered with blood. The court heard that as a result of the assault the alleged victim's nose was broken and she suffered two swollen black eyes.

It is the State's case that the accused carried out this attack and two other attacks. The trial continues before Judge Pauline Codd.

Opening the State's case, Roisin Lacey SC, prosecuting, told the jury of 12 men that it is unusual to have an all male jury. She said that she would give them a summary of the evidence she understands they will hear during the trial.

She said that in the first attack in September 2011 a woman was walking home after a night out. A man came up from behind the woman and began choking her and tried to cover her mouth.

Ms Lacey said the man began punching her in the face and then pushed her to the ground before putting his hand up her skirt and rubbing her outside her underwear.

Ms Lacey said that the attack ended suddenly and the attacker ran off.

She said in September 2015 a man came up behind the second victim and put a belt around her neck. The man pulled her to the ground and sat on her, counsel said.

The woman was screaming and the man began wrapping duct tape around her face and hands. The man turned her over onto her stomach and put his hand on her genitalia, Ms Lacey said.

This attack ended when the people in the nearby house heard the woman's screams and called gardaí. Gardai arrived and chased the attacker but he got away, she said.

Ms Lacey told the jury that a year later a man armed with a hunting knife attacked a third woman as she walked to work in the early morning. He held the knife to her throat but she fought back and the attacker ran off.

A subsequent garda investigation identified a white van parked in the area which gardaí linked to Mr Gierlowski. A blood stained jacket was found at his home and an opened packet of cable ties found in the van.

Ms Lacey told the jury that it is the State's case that DNA links the accused man to each of the three crime scenes. She said DNA found on the blood on the jacket matched the DNA of the woman attacked in September 2016.

She said his DNA was linked to the underwear of the first and second victims and to masking tape used on the second woman's hands.

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