Murder accused’s history - including mum drinking heavily while pregnant - could have impacted his behaviour court told

The history of a man accused of murdering a fellow party goer in Peterborough last year could have impacted how he behaved on the night when he stabbed the man to death.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 7:11 pm
Daniel Szalasny

Daniel Szalasny died in the early hours of May 8 last year when he was stabbed by Bradley Plavecz at a party in Crown Street.

Plavecz (20) of Arkwright Way, Peterborough, has admitted stabbing Mr Szalasny, but denies murder.

Today, (January 14) expert witness Dr Richard Pool, a consultant psychiatrist, told the jury there were a number of factors that could have explained Plavecz’s behaviour on the night in question.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The court heard historical medical records and reports going back to 2015.

In one report from the Youth offending Service in 2015, it was said that he displayed ‘challenging’ behaviour ‘most days’, including making threats to kill himself and staff.

The report also said that while there were no issues in Plavecz’s birth, his mum drank ‘approximately one bottle of wine a night and more at weekends’ while she was pregnant with him.

The reports also said that there were a number of issues of domestic violence in the family home when he was young.

When asked by defence barrister Stephen Spence what his opinion of Plavecz’s condition was, Dr Pool said: “The clinical impression is that he has a diagnosis of ADHD, and my analysis is that it is in the severe arena.”

Mr Spence asked Dr Pool about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Dr Pool said there was increasing work looking at how FAS and ADHD were ‘intertwined’, saying that FAS could lead to ADHD.

He said: “In this case, with my impression of ADHD being in the severe arena, is that I think FAS is an important aspect.” He also said traumatic experiences when he was younger, including witnessing domestic violence , could also be a factor.

Dr Pool had seen CCTV footage of the fatal incident.

The CCTV footage shows Mr Szalasny punch Plavecz in the seconds before the stabbing.

Dr Pool said the impact produced a ‘fight, flight or freeze respone’ - but that Plavecz’s mental disorder resulted in that response ‘being amplified, as a result of fear, anxiety and a desire to protect people around him’,

The court is due to hear from a second expert witness Dr Nuwan Galappathie, and Mr Spence said: “Dr Nuwan Galappathie is going to say anger management issues were the issue, rather than ADHD - what do you say to that.”

Dr Pool said; “I simply don’t see it that way. Had he gone around pointing or gesturing, that would indicate a sense of anger. What I see is someone who showed the fight or flight response.”

“This is an act where substantial loss of control is a result of a recognised medical condition.”

Yesterday, Plavecz had taken to the witness stand, and told jurors that between the moment he had been punched by Mr Szlasny and him running away, he had ‘blanked out’ and could not remember anything.

He also said he could not remember the details of a robbery he had been convicted of carrying out in 2018.

John Farmer, prosecuting, asked Dr Pool about Plavecz not being able to remember the details.

Mr Pool said it was possible that during the stabbing, his brain had stopped him remembering the details because it was a traumatic event.

However, he could not give a medical explanation of why he might have forgotten the details of the robbery.

Mr Farmer also asked about Plavecz picking up a knife and concealing it in the waistband of his trousers.

Mr Farmer said: “An act of self control is concealing the knife - a very deliberate, controlled thing, isn’t it?”

Dr Pool said: “Yes, that would be correct.”

Mr Farmer also raised the fact that in the moments prior to the stabbing, Plavecz’s girlfriend and ex girlfriend were arguing, saying: “There was no loss of control in witnessing a fight between his girlfriend and ex girlfriend was there?”

Dr Pool said that was correct.

Plavecz has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The trial continues.