Mothers killed in Jersey became friends after marriages failed

Details emerge of one victim's troubled relationship after stabbing that left six dead

The two mothers who were murdered with their children in a knife spree that has sent shockwaves through the island of Jersey were brought together by the collapse of their marriages, it was claimed yesterday.

Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, and best friend Marta De La Haye, 34, died after Mrs Rzeszowska's husband, Damian, allegedly launched the attack during a family barbecue on Sunday afternoon.

The 30-year-old carpenter is also accused of killing the couple's two children, Kinga, five, Kacper, 18 months, his father-in-law, Marek Garstki, 55, and Marta's five-year-old daughter, Julia, before turning the knife on himself.

As further details emerged yesterday, a friend claimed Mr Rzeszowski had found out his wife was having an affair. But she ended the romance, with an unnamed man, after Mr Rzeszowski took an overdose of antidepressants a month ago.

"Before he tried to kill himself there was a problem – Izabela had been seeing someone else," said a family friend, who had known Mrs Rzeszowska for six years. "After he ended up in hospital, Izabela told me, 'I understood now, I love Damian, I will never do it again. I want my family back, I want to live like four years ago.'

"The next day, he left hospital and... said he had a new chance at life, he wanted to live for his family, his children and begin afresh."

Mrs Rzeszowska, originally from Bydgoszcz in northern Poland, was described as a "great mother" and a "great friend". The family had returned from a two-week holiday to Damian's home town in Nowy Sacz, southern Poland, on the morning of the massacre. The friend, who last saw the couple before they left, added: "They were smiling, waiting for their holiday. Izabela was happy – she had got her husband back. I don't know what went wrong."

On the day of the family's return, care worker Mrs De La Haye fatefully moved into her friend's home after she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and needed a place to stay. Another friend, who asked not to be named, said she was on bail after her arrest last week following an argument with her husband, Craig, who works for Jersey Electricity Company and married the Polish expat in 2003.

The friend said Mrs De La Haye had called the police following the incident at the couple's exclusive beachfront apartment, on the outskirts of St Helier, but was herself arrested after police noticed scratch marks on her husband's face.

"Marta needed a place to live to avoid going to prison," she said. "She went to stay with Craig's dad at first but then moved in with Izabela on Sunday. That same day, she and little Julia were killed."

Mr De La Haye was last night being comforted by family members on the island. Police began removing bodies from the flat only yesterday as forensic teams continued combing the scene for clues.

Mr Rzeszowski was formally arrested on Monday night in his hospital bed, where he is being kept sedated and under armed police guard. Police said it may be weeks before he is fit to be interviewed. The scale of the island's grief was laid bare yesterday as roses, carnations and sunflowers were placed among cuddly toys and teddy bears at the scene.

Tearful staff from a children's after-school activity club handed officers a bouquet of white roses at the police cordon, in St Helier.

A tribute read: "May the angels look after you now, God bless. Staff and children at Centrepoint Trust."

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Mrs Rzeszowska last night which confirmed her death was caused by multiple stab wounds. It was also revealed that she was not pregnant, police said. Post mortems on the other five victims will be carried out over the next few days.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own