A teenage mother who stabbed her new boyfriend to death ‘lost control,’ according to her lawyers, because she was suffering from PTSD.
Martyna Ogonowska, then 18, claimed she ‘accidentally’ stabbed Filip Jaskiewicz through the heart in 2018, three days after they met after he tried to grope her breasts.
She told police she punched him away after a fight the night before, but she forgot she was holding the knife.
On October 20, 2018, the killer, now 22, and her friends fled the scene without calling an ambulance, leaving Filip, 23, to bleed to death. Ogonowska cleaned the knife and her clothes and even told her mother about the murder on Facebook.
Ogonowska was sentenced to life in prison in April 2019 after being found guilty of murder by a jury at Cambridge Crown Court.
Her attorneys are arguing that the sentence should be reduced because she was suffering from PTSD.
PTSD is likely to cause distress to anyone, and there is evidence of repeated reliving of trauma,’ Ben Cooper KC, representing Ogonowska, told the Court of Appeal. A psychiatric diagnosis reveals that she suffered from severe PTSD, which significantly impaired her ability to make rational decisions.’
‘She was extremely scared and therefore would do anything she could to protect herself. She was unable to exercise self-control.’
The police officer who arrested Ogonowska said she looked ‘pale with puffy eyes’ after the murder. Other witnesses recalled her unintelligible ‘screaming, shaking and stammering.’
Mr Cooper branded this as a ‘clear description of loss of self-control.’ He also claimed one of the biggest failures of the trial was the way the psychiatric reports were put before the jury.
He said: ‘There was an absence of reports. They would have been readily available had they been asked for, or if they were properly sought.’
Mrs Justice Sharp said it was difficult to criticise the way the case was handled given the lack of information since the defence counsel in the trial passed away.
Mr Jackson said: ‘Both experts who gave evidence dealt with the applicant’s schooling and both based their reports on her accounts to them of the difficulties she faced at school, being bullied, leading to self-harm, leading to her exclusion or her simply not attending school.
‘It was agreed between both counsel and the judge that the experts were to be in court for the entirety of the applicant’s evidence.
‘Both experts were not only able to fully understand the material and the allegation she had made but they had the unique opportunity to see the applicant, to see her give that evidence and to see her cross examined.’
Both psychiatrists also considered the fact that Ogonowska encountered difficulties during pregnancy and suffered from postnatal depression.
Mr Jackson claimed the new evidence brought forward of Ogonowska’s medical condition, particularly her medical records, ‘would not have taken the jury any further.’
‘Whilst regrettably neither [doctors] sought or viewed that material, plainly it was not material to disqualify them from coming to the conclusions that they did.
‘The judge made it perfectly plain to the jury what the evidence was and how it related to the issues in the fairest possible way.’
A jury found Ogonowska guilty of murder and sentenced her to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years.
She received an additional 18-month sentence for possessing a knife, to run concurrently with her life sentence.
Judge David Farrell told Ogonowska during his sentencing: ‘You brought a knife to the scene intending to use it as a weapon, and you used that knife in committing the murder.’
The appeal is still ongoing.