Ex-helicopter pilot from Poland jailed over stabbing

Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel
Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel

A former Polish Army helicopter pilot who stabbed two drinking friends in his east Belfast flat was handed a three year sentence yesterday.

Janusz Slawski – a father of two and grandfather of five – lifted a kitchen knife and attacked the two men he had been drinking with in the early hours of February 19 last year.

Branding the offences as “serious” and warranting a prison sentence, Her Honour Judge McCaffrey told 60-year old Slawski that he will spend half the sentence in jail, with the remainder spent on supervised licence upon his release.

Belfast Crown Court heard that as part of Slawski’s licence conditions, he should attend any programmes to help with his dependency on alcohol.

The court also heard that Slawski developed an alcohol problem following a fatal helicopter accident in Poland in the mid 90s, which claimed the lives of three people whilst he was piloting the aircraft.

Slawski admitting wounding one of his fellow drinkers as well as assaulting the other, occasioning him actual bodily harm.

The stabbing occurred in Slawski’s flat on the Woodstock Road. All three men had spent the evening drinking together and at some stage after midnight Slawski left the living room, armed himself with a kitchen knife and when he returned to the living room, he stabbed the two other men.

One of victims was stabbed in the neck and sustained superficial injuries which were later treated at the scene, whilst the other man was stabbed in the throat.

When he raised his arms in defence, he sustained further injuries to both hands.

Two policemen who were on patrol in the area attended the flat at 1.45am after a report was received from Ambulance Control. Slawski met the officers at the front of the flat, flagged down the ambulance and directed everyone to the injured men in his living room.

Whilst one of the injured men was treated at the scene, the second man was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery to his throat and hands and also required a blood transfusion.

He was released from hospital two days later.

Regarding the offences, the defence barrister said that prior to the knife attack there had been no difficulties or arguments between the men.