The trial of a man accused of stabbing a stranger to death after going to the aid of a young woman who was walking home after a night out is being heard at Lincoln Crown Court this week.
Boston 38-year-old Stephen Sleaford is alleged to have knifed Janusz Smoderek, 48, in the heart after going to help the woman who was receiving ‘unwanted attention’ from the Polish father-of-three.
A murder trial jury was told Sleaford acted lawfully at first when he and another man separated Mr Smoderek from the woman after coming across them on their way home from the Axe and Cleaver pub in Boston on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
But Tim Spencer, QC, prosecuting told the court Sleaford then pulled out a knife and stabbed Mr Smoderek when he was no longer a threat to anybody else.
The body of Mr Smoderek, who worked as a flower packer, was found around three hours later in the garden of a house on Sleaford Road in Boston.
A post mortem showed Mr Smoderek, who lived in the Revesby Avenue area of Boston, had suffered six separate stab wounds, including one injury which had ‘pierced’ his heart.
Mr Spencer told the jury: “He and another man, Peter Parrish, had intervened to separate Mr Smoderek from a highly distressed and very drunk young lady who did not want Mr Smoderek’s attentions to her.
“They intervened and split it up, but having rendered Mr Smoderek no threat to her or anybody else Mr Sleaford pulled out a knife he was carrying and used it with wholly disproportionate, unnecessary and unlawful violence. Mr Smoderek was left to die.”
It is alleged Mr Sleaford confessed to killing Mr Smoderek at some stage as he continued to walk the girl home.
Adam Golding, who was walking with Stephen Sleaford and Peter “Dan” Parrish in the moments before the alleged murder, told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court “I heard a girl screaming.
“I could see a big man. He had hold of this girl with both hands. She was hysterical.
“It looked like she was trying to get away. He was keeping hold of her. It didn’t look good.
“Dan and Stephen ran off. They chased the man round the corner.
“The girl was crying and screaming. I was just trying to reassure her. She was scared. She was saying she wanted to be with her boyfriend.”
Mr Golding said Parrish and Sleaford caught up with the man.
He told the jury “There was some sort of scuffle going on. There were two people pulling each other about.
“They were rolling about on the floor. It looked more like wrestling. I believe it was Stephen Sleaford and the other man. Parrish was walking back towards me.”
Mr Golding said that Sleaford came back to join the group. Parrish went off on his own and Sleaford agreed to walk the girl back to her boyfriend’s.
Mr Sleaford, of no fixed address, denies the murder of Janusz Smoderek on September 11, 2011.
The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.