Quick-thinking police officer saved the life of man stabbed in the heart in Brownsover

The victim would have died were it not for the actions of the police officer, a court has heard

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:38 am

A Rugby man would have died after he was stabbed in the heart – if it had not been for the swift and calm attention he was given by a police officer at the scene.

But the man who stabbed and almost killed Wayne Bevan says he was acting in self-defence, Warwick Crown Court has heard.

Jovan Sleem (37) of Seathwaite, Brownsover, Rugby, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Mr Bevan and of Sebastian Gawkiewicz, who was also stabbed during the incident.

Skiddaw, Brownsover - where the stabbing took place. Photo: Google Streetview.

With him in the dock is Clifford Kessna (47) of Pickard Close, Rugby, who has also pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

Both men have also denied alternative charges of wounding the two alleged victims with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutor Talbir Singh told the jury: “Our case is that this involved the use of gratuitous violence by both men on the afternoon of Thursday the 11th of June 2020.

“The other two men sustained life-threatening injuries on being stabbed, and the prosecution say the defendants had the joint intent to kill these two men.”

Mr Singh said the incident took place around two three-storey blocks of flats known as the ‘odd block’ and the ‘even block’ in Skiddaw, Brownsover.

At the time Kessna lived in a ground-floor flat in the even block, where Sleem often stayed at the flat of a friend on the third-floor, while Mr Bevan, Mr Gawkiewicz and his brother Christian lived in the odd block.

At shortly after 3pm Mr Bevan was walking past the even block when he was hit on the head by a bottle thrown from above, and when he looked up he saw Sleem on the top floor.

He ran back to his flat to get help from Mr Gawkiewicz, and the two of them returned to the even block, with Mr Bevan armed with a knife, and began shouting up at the top floor.

Kessna was with Sleem in the flat on the top floor, and they made their way down to confront them, said Mr Singh.

“Before doing so, both men armed themselves with one or perhaps two knives, and made their way down. They were, we say, intent on violence.

“Once outside Kessna ran towards Sebastian Gawkiewicz, who ran away, and he was chased into a corner of the gardens of the flats.

“He couldn’t run any further because it was an enclosed garden, and in that corner Sleem began to attack him with a knife. He stabbed Mr Gawkiewicz who, because of the ferocity of it, was falling in and out of consciousness.”

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 told the jury Kessna was there ‘ready to assist’ during the attack.

Another resident used his phone to film Sleem and Kessna walking back to the even block, both appearing to have weapons.

That resident described them going over to Mr Gawkiewicz as he lay on the ground and Kessna bending down and appearing to make a stabbing motion, while Sleem kicked him ‘like someone kicking a football.’

As Mr Gawkiewicz remained on the ground, Mr Bevan managed to get to his feet, despite his injuries, before collapsing again.

Kessna went back to his flat where he changed out of his bloodstained clothes and trainers, and Sleem made off, but came back while the police were at the scene and went to Kessna’s flat.

When officers arrived one of them checked the two injured men and began to administer first aid to Mr Bevan while at the same time calmly directing colleagues to care for Mr Gawkiewicz as his body-cam recorded his actions.

Mr Bevan had wounds to his left shoulder and forearm, to his abdomen and to his chest which had damaged his heart.

“There was blood filling up around his heart which was a major life-threatening injury, and he was very lucky to survive. He would have died if he had not received medical treatment.”

Mr Gawkiewicz had suffered significant damage to the main artery in his right leg, with the artery having been completely cut through, as well as having two other wounds to his left calf.

When Kessna was arrested he claimed, having changed, that there was ‘no claret over me.’

Sleem was arrested at Kessna’s flat, where the police found bloodstained trainers and clothes, and, in the freezer, two knives which had the blood of the two injured men on them.

Sleem said he saw the two men shouting at him, and that Mr Bowen was armed with a knife, so he and another man, who he would not name, went down to ‘have a word with them and calm them down.’

But he said he was then attacked by Mr Bowen, and then remembered that he had a knife in his pocket, so took it out and stabbed Mr Bowen in self-defence.

He said he then ran off, and he denied having anything to do with the stabbing of Mr Gawkiewicz.

Kessna said he had been in the third-floor flat, and that he had come down with someone he did not want to name, and had seen Mr Bowen and Mr Gawkiewicz, who were both armed with knives.

He said he had gone down to ‘look after the welfare’ of the other man, but would not have done so if he had known how things were going to develop.

Kessna denied stabbing either man or knowing how the knives got into his freezer, and said blood got onto his trainers as he had tried to help Mr Gawkiewicz. The trial continues.