Peterborough man sentenced to 22 years in prison for stabbing fellow partygoer through the heart

A Peterborough man has been sentenced to life in prison- with a minimum of 22 years- after being found guilty of stabbing a fellow partygoer last May.

By Ben Jones
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 11:37 am

Bradley Plavecz (20), of Arkwright Way, Gunthorpe, admitted stabbing Daniel Szalasny at a party both men attended in Crown Street on May 8 but denied murder.

His legal team told the court that, because Plavecz suffers from Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he had been unable to show self-control and therefore a manslaughter verdict was open to them.

The jury rejected this argument though and found Plavecz guilty after a week-long trial at Peterborough Crown Court that concluded earlier this month (January 18).

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Bradley Plavecz.

Plavecz appeared at Peterborough Crown Court today (Thursday, January 27)) where he was sentenced by Judge Sean Enright.

A jury of 11 returned their verdict last Tuesday, after one juror was forced to drop out part way through the trial.

The prosecution was successful in asserting that Plavecz’s ADHD did not substantially affect his ability to exercise self-control.

Plavecz and Mr Szalasny had never met before the night of the party, which was attended by between 25-30 people.

Daniel Szalasny.

While at the party, Plavecz picked up a knife from the kitchen and concealed it in the waistband of his trousers.

In the early hours of the morning, both tried to break up a fight that had broken outside between two women but then began fighting themselves.

CCTV captured the stabbing and it shows that just moments before he was killed, Plavecz punched Mr Szalasny in the face.

Mr Szalasny died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination found that he suffered six stab wounds and died of a single stab wound to his chest, which pierced his heart. He also had a broken nose and cheekbone, abrasions to his face and defence wounds to his arms.

On Thursday, the court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Szalasny’s brother Grzegorz, which was read out by Prosecutor John Farmer.

In it, Mr Szalasny’s brother said: “Daniel was a very cheerful person, no matter what, he had a smile on his face. He had a good heart and would help anyone in need.

“He had his whole life ahead of him and was taken from us – our son, baby brother and uncle – changing our lives forever, leaving emptiness that can’t be filled.

“There is not a day, many months later, that we don’t think about Daniel and the pain after losing him, it doesn’t get any weaker. Our lives will never be the same without him. Family get-togethers are not the same anymore, as when we are looking at each other, without saying a word, we know that we all miss him. There is no way to describe how devastated we are. “It tears us apart that we will never see him starting his own family, enjoying his life, and sharing that with us. Without a reason we have been sentenced to a lifetime of emptiness.”

Stephen Spence, defending stated that Plavecz had not gone to the party looking for trouble with Mr Szalasny and that it was the victim that came over to him and that members of Mr Szalasny’s group had acted aggressively. He asserted that up until the moment of the punch, there was no evidence that Plavecz had acted aggressively towards anyone; noting that the action in trying to push the victim away was “not a violent shove but very much a guiding hand to say go away, leave matters.”

The defence also argued that there was significant mitigation against the starting point for the sentence- which was a life sentence with 25 years as a minimum. These were said to be aggravated to a moderate degree by previous convictions.

The court heard that Plavecz was on licence for robbery at the time of the stabbing, as well as having a number of convictions for carrying a knife and a conviction for wounding but not with a weapon.

Mr Spence added: “There are conviction for carrying weapons, there are convictions for violence but there is not a substantial history for convictions for using violence and no convictions that involve stabbings.”

Summing up during his sentencing, Judge Enright added that there was a slight mitigating factor including provocation, but that he was persuaded that the victim did nothing untoward in the house, and Plavecz’s age.

He said: “I’m sure there was an intention to kill, the number and location of the wounds and the camera footage is very compelling. It was not planned but not spontaneous. The weapon was kept out of the view of everyone, even the victim, I don’t think he even knew he had been stabbed.

“I accept the difficulties described have been life-long and significant. You have lacked parental support from a very young age.

“My impression is that you made a decision early in life to remain in your comfort zone and rebuff attempts to keep you on the straight and narrow.

This was all about entrenched anger, you know the difference between right and wrong.

“Immaturity and age are matters I must take into account. Your age is a major factor and you are also very immature. Exclusion from education, a disrupted home life and you couldn’t keep the only job you had for more than three months.”

Plavecz must serve 22 years before a parole board will be able to decide on whether or not it is safe for him to be released.