A HOMELESS man whose hands were set on fire as he slept in a Coventry park was caught with a knife at a railway station shortly after being discharged from hospital.
And Marcin Liszewski, whose plight led to a fundraising page being set up to help him, has now been jailed after a judge heard he was subject to a suspended sentence at the time.
Liszewski (36) of Lamb Street, Coventry, appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to possessing a bladed article at Nottingham railway station.
Because it was his second conviction for having a knife in public, he was jailed for four months and eight days – the minimum term he could be given following his guilty plea.
And he was ordered to serve that consecutive to a six-month suspended sentence he had failed to comply with after it had been imposed at the court in June 2017.
Prosecutor Ian Speed said the suspended sentence had followed an incident at the Ikea store in Coventry in March 2017 when staff had seen him waving a knife around and making threats.
One member of staff bravely approached him as he was sitting on a seat in the store and moved the knife away from him.
But when the police arrived, Liszewski took a knife from his rucksack and held it to his own throat in a bid to keep the officers at bay.
He was eventually persuaded to put it down, and after he was arrested he said he carried the knife for his own protection because he was homeless.
When he appeared at the court he was given the suspended sentence and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
But breach proceedings were taken out by the probation service after he failed to turn up for any unpaid work sessions apart from his 75-minute induction appointment.
A bench warrant was issued when he failed to turn up at the court in November 2017 – but was not executed until February this year when the police were called to an incident at Nottingham railway station.
In the meantime, although not named, Liszewski had made national headlines after being callously set on fire as he was sleeping rough in the early hours of January 27.
He was asleep in Swanswell Park in the Hillfields area of Coventry when someone horrifically poured lighter fluid on his hands and set them alight, causing severe burns.
Liszewski, whose plight shocked people in Coventry and further afield, leading to a fundraising page being set up to help him, was transferred to the burns unit at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham for treatment.
But on February 4, following his discharge that day, the police were called to Nottingham railway station because of a man who was shouting and swearing and seemed confused.
Although no charge arose from that, when officers carried out a check they found there was a warrant for Liszewski, so he was arrested and was found to have a lock knife in his jacket.
“The Crown are concerned because this man has committed two offences now with a bladed article,” said Mr Speed.
Sophie Murray, defending, said: “He got set on fire while sleeping in a park in Coventry, and he was burned quite severely. That was his motivation for carrying the lock knife.”
She said Liszewski had struggled with type one diabetes and alcoholism, ‘which has led him to lead a lifestyle which has been at times chaotic and at times homeless.’
But Miss Murray said he had benefited from being remanded in custody, where his injuries have almost healed, and he has resolved to remain abstinent of alcohol because he realises he cannot drink because of his diabetes.
She pointed out that Liszewski, who had previously worked in the automotive industry, had the knife among his possessions which he had to carry with him, and had not produced it.
But he now realised he could not have a knife on him in public, and was motivated not to remain homeless.
Jailing him, Judge Sarah Buckingham told Liszewski: “You have limited previous convictions, but you have now been convicted of two offences of having a bladed article.
“Your attitude towards your community order was utterly woeful, blaming it on your diabetes and feeling tired.”