Court hears alleged Ballymena stab victim pleaded with neighbour: 'Please don't kill me'

Court hears alleged Ballymena stab victim pleaded with neighbour: 'Please don't kill me'

A MAN allegedly stabbed several times in Ballymena by a neighbour pleaded: 'Please don't kill me'.

Details emerged as Damian Charzewski (32), of Cushendall Road in Ballymena - who is accused of attempted murder - had a bail application refused at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.

The defendant is charged in relation to February 27 this year.

It is claimed the defendant made an accusation that "listening devices" were planted in his home and after inviting a neighbour in to his home launched an attack.

Charzewski appeared via video link from prison where he had been on remand. He had the assistance of a Polish interpreter.

The court was told the neighbour who was stabbed is also originally from Poland.

A PSNI detective told the court the defendant had no record in Northern Ireland but "two drug offences" in Poland.

The officer, Court News NI can report, said police received a report of a stabbing at Cushendall Road.

The injured party (i.p) and his family had lived at the address for almost ten years and the defendant moved in next door around a year and a half ago.

The officer said they would have said hello to each other when they met "but wouldn't have classed each other as friends".

Around six months ago the defendant "started to accuse" the injured man's wife of "planting listening devices in his house" and she told him it was "nonsense".

The defendant had "accosted" the woman and repeated similar accusations.

On February 25 the defendant shouted at the woman as she and the injured man were having a smoke at their front door.

The officer said the injured party went inside because he didn't want to "get involved" with the defendant and he didn't "take it seriously because the allegation was, what he thought, crazy".

Around 10am on February 27 the injured party was returning to his home from a shop and the defendant was standing at the back door of his home.

He said the defendant called the man over and the defendant was in "good form".

The men decided to have a beer together and the defendant invited the injured man into the house.

The officer told the court the injured man sat down on a sofa and took a beer out of a bag.

The detective said: "The defendant had locked the doors behind him and then walked over to the kitchen area and immediately walked towards the i.p. and began to stab him.

The man received eight stab wounds "to his neck and shoulder and some how he was turned around and was stabbed five times in the back and once in the side, under his armpit".

The officer said the injured man said "it happened so fast".

The officer said the injured man could not remember what sort of knife was used but the detective said going by the injuries it was "probably a smaller knife".

The detective said the injured man ended up on the floor using his legs to keep the defendant away.

The officer said the injured man said the defendant was "completely calm throughout this entire incident".

The detective said the injured man "looks into his eyes and says 'please don't kill me'."

The officer said the defendant "immediately stops" and then said "I'm gong to let you go but tell your wife and son I'm going to kill them". The officer said the son was 14.

The injured man was able to leave the house and return to his own home where he was brought to hospital by ambulance for treatment for stab wounds and a collapsed lung.

He has been discharged from hospital, the officer said.

The policeman said: "The police arrived very shortly after the report. The Armed Response Unit forced entry to the defendant's front door and found him inside and arrested him for attempted murder".

Three knives were recovered from a draining board from the kitchen and although there was no obvious signs of blood on them, one knife was still wet and "could have been cleaned".

The detective said there was a "lot of blood" in the house.

The officer said that in the presence of police the defendant asked: "Is the man I am supposed to have stabbed OK? I want to say sorry to him. I want help getting out of this addiction."

When interviewed the defendant was "quite emotional" and told police he had previously been treated for "addiction" and was diagnosed with "paranoia" and " would have thought that people were listening to him on his phone and things like that".

The officer said the injured party's wife believed the defendant "takes Meth quite a bit".

The detective said Charzewski claimed he "doesn't remember anything" about the stabbing.

The officer said the defendant had been drinking and "wasn't fit for interview for eight or nine hours".

The officer opposed bail fearing that because of his "psychological state" he may return and attack the neighbours who are "very frightened".

The officer said a potential bail address at Dunclug Gardens in Ballymena was put forward but that was "too close".

Defence barrister Michael Boyd said: "The main issue in this case is not going to be the physical act of the stabbing. There seems to be a very, very, strong prima facie case that hasn't been contested by the defendant in his interview.

"The issue will surround his mental state and his mens rea".

The lawyer said Charzewski had no history of violence either in this jurisdiction or in Poland.

He accepted the defendant does have a history of drugs and had misused amphetamne and cocaine which caused "mental health issues over the years, most notably anxiety and paranoia".

The barrister said the defendant "needs help clearly" which he was "not going to receive" in prison, certainly in the short term.

He said the defendant had lived here for six or seven years and worked in a manufacturing firm in the Toomebridge area as a labourer for over 18 months.

The lawyer said the defendant "has no animus towards the injured party or his wife and clearly that would be linked, to some degree, to his mental state".

He argued that "with strict conditions" bail could be granted "on the condition that he immediately sought medical assistance".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "This is a first application for bail and Mr Boyd quite correctly recognises that the charge is quite serious - namely attempted murder.

"It is of concern to the court that there doesn't appear to be any justified reason why he became involved with the complainant. There does appear to be a history in terms of either addiction and/or mental health issues.

"In the absence of those issues being properly addressed by a health professional the court would be concerned that there remains a risk of further offending and further engagement with the defendant or his family

"The court is therefore not minded to grant bail for the following reasons- risk of further offending and a risk he could interfere with the complainant and/or the complainant's family if released on bail."

The case was adjourned to April 26.

  • Main picture: Police pictured at an address in the Cushendall Road area of Ballymena in February this year.