A VIOLENT Brownsover man who plunged a knife into another man’s heart has been convicted of attempting to kill him after a jury rejected his claim that he had been aiming for his victim’s shoulder.
Jovan Sleem had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the attempted murder of his victim Wayne Bevan and another man, Sebastian Gawkiewicz, who was also stabbed during the incident.
But Sleem, 37, of Seathwaite, Brownsover, Rugby, was found guilty of attempting to murder of Mr Bevan during the incident in June last year.
He was cleared of trying to kill Mr Gawkiewicz, but was convicted of an alternative charge of wounding him with intent, and was also found guilty of affray.
With him in the dock was Clifford Kessna, 47, of Pickard Close, Rugby, who was cleared of the attempted murder charges, but was found guilty of wounding Mr Gawkiewicz with intent and affray.
Both men will be sentenced at a later date after Judge Peter Cooke adjourned the case for reports to be prepared on them.
During the trial prosecutor Talbir Singh said the two men were involved in the use of ‘gratuitous violence’ towards Mr Bevan and Mr Gawkiewicz on Thursday June 11 last year.
That afternoon Mr Bevan, who lived in the ‘odd block’ of three-storey flats in Skiddaw, Brownsover, was walking past the ‘even block’ when a bottle thrown from above hit him on the head.
He looked up and saw Sleem, who was at the flat of a friend on the top floor, so ran back to his flat before returning, having armed himself with a knife, with Mr Gawkiewicz.
They began shouting up at the top floor, and Sleem and Kessna, who lived in another flat in the block, came out to confront them, ‘intent on violence.’
Kessna ran towards Mr Gawkiewicz, who ran away, and he was chased into a corner of the gardens of the flats where Sleem stabbed him to the leg, completely severing the femoral artery, and Kessna also aimed blows at him.
Seeing the attack, Mr Bevan ran back to his flat to tell Mr Gawkiewicz’s brother, and both of them came back out.
“Shortly after, Sleem launched an attack on Wayne Bevan. He pushes Wayne Bevan to the floor, and once on the floor he stamps on his head and stabs him to his chest.
“It penetrated the heart of Wayne Bevan, and Jovan Sleem is then seen to simply walk away,” said Mr Singh, who alleged Kessna had been there ‘ready to assist’ during the attack.
One of the police officers who attended the scene applied a tourniquet to Mr Gawkiewicz’s leg, which the surgeon who operated on him said ‘may have saved his life.’
And Mr Bevan had ‘a huge collection of blood around the heart’ from the wound to his heart, and would have died ‘within an hour or two’ according to consultant surgeon Uday Dandekar, who operated on him for two hours to save him.
Giving evidence, Sleem denied having anything to do with the stabbing of Mr Gawkiewicz.
In relation to Mr Bevan, who he said had a knife and was shouting threats at him during the initial confrontation, he told the jury he feared he was going to be stabbed.
And he claimed that when Mr Bevan came back out with Mr Gawkiewicz’s brother ‘he came at me with the knife again.’
“I think his intention basically was to kill me. He was not just calling it a day, he was coming back to have another attempt. I was frightened for my life.
“I had my knife on me. I tried to edge him away. We’re going to and fro, and he stumbled. I tried a martial arts axe kick to keep him down.
Of then stabbing Mr Bevan, he said: “My intent was to put one in his shoulder, but it’s obviously got Wayne in the chest.
“I intended to aim for his shoulder to immobilise him so he couldn’t use that arm to produce the knife,” Sleem added – but the jury rejected his account.
Kessna did not give evidence, but his barrister Graeme Simpson argued that there was no evidence he had been involved in the attack on Mr Bevan at all, and no evidence he had a knife during the confrontation with Mr Gawkiewicz.