Rugby man tells jury he meant to stab another man in the shoulder – but missed and unintentionally stabbed his heart instead

He said he had feared for his life and had acted in self-defence after trying to ward off his victim

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 12:21 pm

A Rugby man has told a jury he meant to stab another man in the shoulder – but missed and unintentionally plunged the knife into his heart instead.

Jovan Sleem said he had feared for his life and had acted in self-defence after trying to ward off his victim Wayne Bevan, who he said had come at him with a large knife.

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

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

With him in the dock is Clifford Kessna (47) of Pickard Close, Rugby, who has also pleaded not guilty those charges, and both men also deny alternative charges of wounding with intent.

Prosecutor Talbir Singh has alleged that they were both involved in the use of ‘gratuitous violence’ towards Mr Bevan and Mr Gawkiewicz on Thursday June 11 last year.

That afternoon Mr Bevan, who lived in the ‘odd block’ of three-storey flats in Skiddaw, Brownsover, was walking past the ‘even block’ when a bottle thrown from above hit him on the head.

He looked up and saw Sleem, who was at the flat of a friend on the top floor, so ran back to his flat before returning, having armed himself with a knife, with Mr Gawkiewicz.

They began shouting up at the top floor, and Sleem and Kessna, who lived in another flat in the block, came out to confront them, allegedly ‘intent on violence.’

They began shouting up at the top floor, and Sleem and Kessna, who lived in another flat in the block, came out to confront them, allegedly ‘intent on violence.’

During the conflict which followed, it is alleged that Sleem stabbed Mr Gawkiewicz to the leg, completely severing the femoral artery, said Mr Singh.

“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.

One of the police officers who attended the scene applied a tourniquet to Mr Gawkiewicz’s leg, which the surgeon who operated on him said ‘may have saved his life.’

Mr Bevan had ‘a huge collection of blood around the heart’ from the wound to his heart, and would have died ‘within an hour or two’ according to consultant surgeon Uday Dandekar, who operated on him for two hours to save him.

Giving evidence, Sleem denied having anything to do with the stabbing of Mr Gawkiewicz.

In relation to Mr Bevan, who he said had a knife and was shouting threats at him, he told the jury: “At first I thought he was p***ing around and told him to f*** off, but then he took it out and came towards me.

“His eyes were bulging. He was shouting and threatening me ‘I’m going to chop you up.’ I was scared I was going to be stabbed, and I was scared for my son who was going to be coming through the gate any moment.

“As soon as the knife was produced, I went like into a tunnel vision, I was that frightened. He was moving towards me with the knife.

“I was in the middle of having a panic attack and started patting myself, and that’s when I felt the red knife in my pocket. I pulled it out and held it in my hand.

“As Wayne started coming at me he’s tried to strike down towards my face and neck area, and I’ve had to duck to move out of the way.”

Gesturing holding the knife with his arm out straight in front of him, Sleem said: “I tried to use the little knife I had to keep him off, but it had no effect.”

It was pointed out that when Mr Bevan returned to his flat before coming back out with Mr Gawkiewicz’s brother, he had a cut to his arm, and Sleem was asked if he had caused it.

He replied: “I don’t think I did, but I can’t be absolutely sure. I remember waving my knife.”

Sleem said that after Mr Bevan left, he had tried to get back into the even block, but got no reply from the buzzer at the front, so went to the rear where he was also unable to get in.

“I ran back round to the front, and this is when I was faced with Wayne again. He came at me with the knife again, swinging at me.

“I think his intention basically was to kill me. He was not just calling it a day, he was coming back to have another attempt. I was frightened for my life.

“I had my knife on me. I tried to edge him away. We’re going to and fro, and he stumbled. I tried a martial arts axe kick to keep him down.

“I didn’t see the knife, but his arm was at the rear where he had produced the knife from. I was scared, he was clearly not going to stop.”

Of then stabbing Mr Bevan, he said: “My intent was to put one in his shoulder, but it’s obviously got Wayne in the chest.

“I intended to aim for his shoulder to immobilise him so he couldn’t use that arm to produce the knife,” Sleem added.

The trial continues.