Northern Ireland

Daughter of murdered man refuses to accept apology from ‘extremely controlling’ partner

Father-of-three Tony Browne was stabbed to death, as he slept, by partner Wiktoria Maksymowicz at his west Belfast home in October 2022

Murder victim Tony Browne
Murder victim Tony Browne

The daughter of a man stabbed to death by his partner is refusing to accept her apology as she revealed the family’s continued deep anger and pain following the murder.

Father-of-three Tony Browne was fatally stabbed as he slept by partner Wiktoria Maksymowicz at his west Belfast home in October 2022.

The “extremely controlling” 35-year-old Maksymowicz pleaded guilty to murder aggravated by reason of involving domestic abuse. She also pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to stabbing 54-year-old Mr Browne in the leg on the Glider bus the day before she killed him.

Wiktoria Maksymowicz, sentenced to life for the murder of Tony Browne
Wiktoria Maksymowicz, sentenced to life for the murder of Tony Browne

Maksymowicz will receive a life sentence and will hear next month how many years she will serve in prison.

Mr Browne’s 22-year-old twin daughters, Shannon and Bobbi-Leigh McIlwaine, described the impact of the loss of a man described as a “big, gentle giant” and “kind soul”.

Following her guilty plea, Maksymowicz said she was “truly sorry for the damage and harm she has caused” but blamed the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

Bobbi-Leigh McIlwaine said her father’s “life had been taken from him by a horrible murdering scum”.

“Your apology means nothing to us. I hate you and everything about you. I hate what you’ve done to my family,” Ms McIlwaine wrote on social media.

Bobbi-Leigh McIlwaine
Bobbi-Leigh McIlwaine

“You have traumatised us all and I want nothing but pain for you. I want you to hurt and every passing day I want you to hurt more.

“I am so angry. I want my daddy back and you took him away from me. Hope we are doing you proud and we will continue to fight for you and for other men who are victims of domestic abuse.”

In court on Friday, Maksymowicz’s counsel Gavan Duffy said his client “wanted to convey...she fully accepts and understands the considerable anger of Mr Browne’s family, and that she knows and accepts that it is unlikely that they will ever forgive her for her actions.”

Mr Duffy added: “What she does say is that she is truly sorry for the damage and the harm she has caused, is sorry for what happened to Tony and if there was any way she could change what has happened she would, but obviously she can’t other than accept her responsibility.”

The twins, in an interview with BBC, said “their lives have been destroyed” following the murder by the “extremely controlling” Maksymowicz, who had moved to Northern Ireland from her native Poland in recent years.

One of the sisters described being unable to even hear about a film she had seen on the evening of the murder. The sound of an ambulance brings back memories of the night of October 14, 2022. One of the twins ran after the ambulance as it left her father’s home for the hospital.

They also revealed details of the abuse and coercive control their father suffered. Maksymowicz “would take our dad’s phone from him and at times didn’t allow him to speak to his family.”

On the day before Mr Browne was killed, the couple were on the Glider. Maksymowicz started screaming and shouting at him, then stabbed him in the leg. People were filming the incident but no-one intervened.

“Our daddy will never walk us down the aisle,” Shannon told the BBC. “He’ll never get to see his grandkids. Wiktoria took that opportunity away from him. She’s taken it away from us.

“We’re never going to see my dad being a grandad. She’s ruined our lives. “I always think, when he died did he know that we loved him? Whenever he was dying - did he know?”

Bobbi-Leigh said their father’s murder “has completely traumatised us”. “We identified our father’s body. I will never forget that - ever,” she said.

The twins called for more support for men who are victims of domestic violence.

“There still isn’t much help for men. There is still a stigma around men asking for help,” they said adding that there needs to be more awareness around men being abused.”

Maksymowicz pleaded guilty also to possessing a knife and assault on the Glider the day before Mr Browne’s death. She als0 pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis. Mr Justice John O’Hara listed the tariff hearing for June 27.