By Isabel Hayes & David O’Sullivan
A woman who walked into a Dublin restaurant and threw a cup of acid at workers, leaving three women with severe burns, has been found not guilty by a jury by reason of insanity.
The jury in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial of Katarzyna Wsiubiak (34) returned the verdicts after a two-day trial.
The court heard Wsiubiak was “paranoid” and “delusional” when she walked into the restaurant and threw acid at the workers, one of whom she had known previously.
This victim suffered severe burns to 16 per cent of her body, including her face, while a second woman suffered burns when she tried to help her injured colleague to remove her clothes. The third victim suffered burns to her ankle as a result of the acid splashing near her feet.
Wsiubiak entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of assault causing serious harm and one count of assault causing harm to the women at the One Asian Kitchen in Tallaght on December 13, 2020. These pleas were accepted by the prosecution.
Wsiubiak, of Abberly Square, Tallaght, appeared in court via videolink from the Central Mental Hospital, where she has been a patient since shortly after the attack.
Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, told the court that while gardaí were carrying out investigations at the restaurant shortly after the incident, Wsiubiak approached them with her phone and told them, through the aid of Google Translate, that she had carried out the attack.
She wrote: “I did it” and when gardaí wrote back: “What did you do?”, she responded: “I hurt that girl”.
Wsiubiak was arrested and interviewed by gardaí, but it soon became apparent that she was mentally unwell, the court heard. While in a holding cell in between interviews, she had a seizure and was brought to hospital before being transferred to the Central Mental Hospital. She has been there ever since.
The court heard Wsiubiak knew the first victim who was the main target of the acid attack, and that this woman had provided translation services for her. They had not been in contact for a couple of months prior to the incident.
Fiona Murphy SC, defending, told the court that Wsiubiak believed this woman was “engaged in a wider conspiracy against her”.
Dr Patrick McLaughlin, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, gave evidence that Wsiubiak has schizophrenia and was suffering from its symptoms at the time of the attack.
Dr Wright said that Wsiubiak “did not know what she was doing was morally wrong” and believed the first victim was part of a “wide conspiracy to torment and harm her.”
She described how symptoms of the illness include “delusions and hallucinations” but that during her time in hospital, Wsiubiak’s “mental state has improved.”
Medical reports handed into court stated that the first victim in the restaurant suffered significant burns to her face, neck, chest and left upper arm, making up 16 per cent of her body surface. She suffered a significant injury to her left eye which has affected her vision and she has been left with permanent scars.
The second victim suffered second degree burns to her neck, left arm and fingers when she tried to help her colleague. The third victim suffered first degree burns to her ankle.
Ms Wsiubiak addressed the court with the assistance of a translator after the verdict was read out. She said “it is hard for me that I hurt someone” and that she is “very sorry.”
Judge Patricia Ryan ordered a report to be prepared and adjourned the case to October 31 for finalisation.