A Palestinian man unsuccessfully tried to sexually assault a Polish tourist and then strangled her to death to prevent her from report him, according to an indictment filed at the Nazareth District Court on Thursday.
Qutiba Atyan, 21 years old from Jericho, was charged with murder, attempting to commit an indecent act, obstruction of justice and illegal entry into Israel.
The victim, 24-year-old Daaria Magdalena Rojmiark, arrived in Israel in April with her father and a group of pilgrims.
On the morning of the murder, the group went on a trip to the Kinneret and the Galilee, but Rojmiark suffered from a light cold and decided to stay at the hotel.
At around 4:45 pm she left the hotel to smoke a cigarette. Later, she started wandering around Nazareth and passed by a construction site where Atyan worked. For a reason that remains unclear, Rojmiark entered the construction site and started talking to Atyan, but he could not understand her and she tried resulted to communicating with hand gestures.
During their conversation, Atyan grabbed Rojmiark’s hand and started kissing her. She panicked and ran away from the construction site, but Atyan chased after her, knocked her down and strangled her to death using her scarf.
According to the indictment, Atyan was afraid the tourist will report him and reveal the fact he was working in Israel illegally.
After strangling her, Atyan dragged her to a nearby grove, where he covered her to hide her from any passersby.
Atyan did not tell anyone what happened, but several days later told his father and uncle, who are also working in Israel illegally, that he had seen a body in the grove.
Fearing they would get in trouble, the two left Israel. On their way home they called the police and reported the body.
“The accused deliberately murdered the deceased, having decided to kill her. He prepared himself to carry out the act itself, and this was done with no prior provocation on her part,” the indictment said.
“He caused the death of the decreased after committing another offense, in order to ensure he escaped punishment. The accused tried to commit an indecent act without the victim’s consent and with the use of force.”
The head of the murder division in the police’s northern district, Eyal Harari, said that during the investigation, contractors and workers from the area were questioned.
“We received a report of a body, and after identifying the missing tourist we delivered the news to her group, which included her father. He took the news very badly and needed medical attention,” Harari said.
“We were able to locate three family members who worked together at a construction site, who became suspects, but we ruled out the suspicions against two of them of being involved in the death, and they are only being accused of illegal stay.”