Mother had been prescribed antidepressants prior to the murder-suicide
Mother of two, Marta Galikowska, stabbed to death her two young daughters before turning the knife on herself because she mistakenly believed the eldest of the pair had cancer, an inquest today heard. Depressed Marta Galikowska, 27, became convinced that her five-year-old daughter, Maja, was suffering from the disease after she discovered a lump under her jaw, the North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court hearing was told.
Galikowska’s husband, Marcin Galikowskin, 28, discovered the bodies of his wife and the girls after returning from his job as a binman to the semi-detached property at around 6.35pm. He was initially arrested by police, but released without charge.
Today, the court heard how Mother of two, Marta Galikowska had been prescribed antidepressants by a GP a week before her death after telling her husband that she wanted to kill herself and the children.
After a visit from social services, Mrs Galikowska, originally from Przemysl, a city in southeast Poland, social workers said they did not have any immediate concerns about the children’s safety. Mr Galikowski told the inquest his wife believed their daughters were going to be taken away by social services. A post-mortem later revealed she and the girls had all died from stab wounds.
Tests also revealed that the lump under Maja’s jaw was a benign cyst.
Senior coroner for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, Ian Smith, told those present that the case was ‘the worst inquest, in emotional terms’ he has ever dealt with. ‘These were killings and suicide out of love – a perverse sort of love,’ Mr Smith said. ‘I accept in Marta’s mind she “knew” Maja had got cancer.’ ‘She was completely wrong in that regard, but that was what she believed. ‘She didn’t want her daughter to die of cancer, and if she couldn’t prevent her daughter dying of cancer she would take her life. ‘She took Olga’s on the same occasion, and having committed that she felt she had no other alternative than to take her own life.’
Giving evidence at the hearing, Mr Galikowski said: ‘Marta got herself into a state and convinced herself it was cancer. She started to talk about killing herself and the children. ‘She talked about us all jumping off a bridge. I tried to reassure my wife and give her support. ‘I believed she was depressed so I took her to see a doctor.’ He said: ‘Marta was a fantastic wife and a loving Mother who worshipped our daughters Maja and Olga. My wife was a very special person who lit up my life. ‘Maja and Olga were wonderful children whose smiles still shine brightly.’
Maja was a pupil at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School, just yards away from the family’s home. The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide for Galikowska. Maja and Olga were found to have been unlawfully killed by their mother. The inquest also heard that a GP referral for Galikowska was not followed up for 48 hours. A serious case review is now underway to see whether anything could have been done to save her and her two young daughters.