A Polish national who attempted to murder his flatmate in a prolonged knife attack across two apartments had consumed such a high quantity of drugs he believed he was Jesus Christ and wanted to kill the devil, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Defence counsel for Dominik Biber (25), Ellen Street, Limerick, said that such was the “mad strength” demonstrated by the accused that when the victim, Tomasz Grosser (60), squeezed his testicles as hard as he could in an effort to stop the attack, it had no effect.
Biber pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Mr Grosser on April 11th, 2020, at Ormston House, Ellen St in Limerick. He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Mr Grosser and to committing a burglary at an apartment in Ormston House while in possession of two knives.
At the sentencing hearing on Monday, Detective Garda Denis O’Leary gave evidence to counsel for the prosecution Ronan Kennedy SC that on that day, Biber returned to the apartment and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Det O’Leary said Biber was agitated, he was kneeling down and asking God to take the drugs away from him. Mr Grosser believed he had taken a high dose of drugs the previous evening.
Mr Grosser told him to stop taking drugs as it would ruin his life. Biber asked about a package he had placed in the bathroom, which he couldn’t locate. He accused Mr Grosser of taking it.
Biber then tried to flush a package down the toilet. The toilet became blocked and between the two men they took the package out, before Biber flushed away the contents.
Biber made a video call to his mother and Mr Grosser heard Biber say he was Jesus Christ and there was a devil in the house that he had to kill.
Biber went to the kitchen and picked up a knife, which he showed to his mother. His mother said not to do it as he would end up in prison. Det O’Leary said that Mr Grosser became fearful for his safety at this point.
Biber placed an armchair against the front door and told Mr Grosser he would not leave. He attacked Mr Grosser, stabbing him in the face, neck, and chest. He was thrusting the knife to Mr Grosser’s heart and both men fell to the floor, where Mr Grosser was stabbed in the leg.
Biber told him, “I’m going to kill you, devil.” Det O’Leary said that Mr Grosser thought he was sure to die and Biber continued to thrust the knife. Mr Grosser grabbed the knife and broke the blade.
Det O’Leary said that Biber then got another knife, but Mr Grosser removed the chair and made good his escape, “running for his life”.
Mr Grosser went downstairs to his friend’s apartment and told her to ring the gardai as Biber was going to kill him.
Biber forcibly kicked in the door of this apartment and had two knives, one in each hand. Mr Grosser and the woman fled and closed the living room door. Mr Grosser prevented him from gaining access, blocking the door with his body weight, while Biber shouted, “I’ll kill you.”
Biber gained access to the living room via the balcony, where he continued stabbing Mr Grosser to the neck, saying he would kill him. The woman grabbed her daughter and escaped the apartment to call the gardaí.
When the gardaí arrived, they saw Mr Grosser lying topless, bloody and motionless, with Biber leaning over him. Biber grabbed Mr Grosser in a headlock and stabbed him a number of times in the face and neck. He continued to stab Mr Grosser, who was motionless and defenceless, so gardaí struck him with a baton, but Biber continued to stab him in the neck and face area. The gardaí restrained Biber and took the knife off him, but he continued to struggle and attempted to kick out.
When the paramedics arrived, Mr Grosser was conscious and breathing. They noted three lacerations on his face, a puncture wound to the shoulder, a puncture wound to the front of the skull and a puncture to the left leg. They requested life support as it was deemed to be life-threatening. He suffered bite wounds and multiple stab wounds in the attack.
Shocking and frightening event
In his victim impact statement, Mr Grosser said that he could not bring himself to tell his family about the attack. He said that he worked as a general labourer, but he could not go to work for eight months and lost a lot of clients. He said he still has pains in his legs and his leg will never be the same again, the court heard.
“I remember lying there thinking I was going to die,” said Mr Grosser.
In interview with gardaí, Biber initially said he was acting in self-defence. He said Mr Grosser had attacked him and that the victim was a dangerous person. In his final interview with the gardaí, Biber said he did not remember half of the situation.
“I can’t talk cause, I can’t think correctly,” he told the gardaí. "I remember thinking that I was the son of God and I wanted to kill the devil.”
Counsel for the defence, Mark Nicholas SC said this was an absolutely shocking and frightening event. He said that at one stage, Mr Grosser grabbed Biber’s testicles and squeezed as hard as he could but got no response.
“There was a mad strength there,” said Mr Nicholas.
He said that in custody, Biber was referring to himself as Jesus Christ and was self-harming by bashing his head off the wall.
“He had a grandiose delusion about being Jesus Christ,” said Mr Nicholas, going on to say that this was caused by voluntary intoxication at such a level that he was not capable of forming an intent.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott remanded the accused in custody to Monday, December 12th, 2022, for sentencing.