A MAN who carried out a vicious and unprovoked knife attack on a Coventry prostitute after going into an alleyway with her has been warned to expect ‘a very, very lengthy’ sentence.
Bartosz Konopacki had admitted wounding the 31-year-old sex worker with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm, but denied he had been trying to kill her.
But a jury at Warwick Crown Court took just an hour-and-a-half to find Konopacki (26) of Hillmorton Road, Coventry, guilty of attempted murder by a unanimous verdict.
Remanding him in custody, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said that before sentencing Konopacki he wanted a report to be prepared on him to assess the danger he is likely to pose in the future.
But the judge warned him: “You should prepare yourself for a very, very lengthy custodial sentence.”
Prosecutor Michelle Heeley QC said it had been a planned intent to kill after Konopacki had armed himself with a large orange-bladed kitchen knife and cruised the Hillfields red light area looking for a target.
And his victim could have died if one of the police officers who attended had not pushed his fingers into a wound to her neck to stop her ‘bleeding out’ before paramedics arrived.
Miss Heeley said that Konopacki had been seen driving around the Hillfields area at around 2.30am on May 7 – and CCTV cameras showed the car going in a loop which included Vauxhall Street.
He was driving around for 40 minutes before stopping and getting out of his car to approach his victim who was near the junction with Vernon Close.
“So this was not something that happened on the spur of the moment. This is a man who set out that night intending to kill someone,” commented Miss Heeley.
The victim said in a police interview played to the jury that she had seen him driving past, so when he stopped and got out, she asked him ‘business?’
Asked by the officer what she meant, she explained: “It’s soliciting, selling your body for sex… for my habit.”
When Konopacki said yes, she showed him to an alleyway off Vernon Close and, standing against a wall, she leant down to get a condom from her shoe.
“I turn round and all I see is him with a big long knife. I’m cornered. It happened so quick, and so slow. He’s stabbing me in my heart and my neck, and there was blood spitting out everywhere.
“He didn’t want business. He was out to kill that night. He just pulled the knife straight out. I was so scared. I just felt all this blood.”
She said when Konopacki paused she ran out of the alley thinking ‘I’m losing blood,’ and banged on doors as she tried to get help, ‘but no-one was about.’
And she said: “I seen him drive past as I’m struggling for my life on the street. He stopped and was just watching.”
Despite her fears that she was going to die, she had the presence of mind to look at his registration number which she was able to pass to the police.
And fortunately a woman who was passing in a car stopped to help her and called the emergency services.
The police were first on the scene, and Miss Heeley told the jury: “It was only because a police officer struck his fingers into one of the wounds that meant she was able to receive treatment for her injuries.”
She had been stabbed to the neck and at least three times to the area of her heart, as well as ‘defensive injuries to her hand as she tried to shield her face from the numerous blows.’
Questioned by Jeremy Lynn, defending, the woman was asked whether she could say why the stabbing stopped, to which she replied: “No.”
And Mr Lynn suggested to the jury that if Konopacki had been intending to kill, he would have continued with his attack.
Konopacku himself, giving evidence with the assistance of a Polish interpreter, said he had used the knife a few months earlier to remove a car fuse, and had left it in the car – and he denied deliberately taking it out that night to kill anyone.
He said he had gone out to drive round because he could not sleep because of drugs and alcohol he had taken, and he claimed: “I was not really sure what I was doing.”
He claimed he could not say why he took the knife with him when he went to speak to the woman, who he said he did not know was a prostitute.
Mr Lynn asked him why he had begun stabbing her, to which Konopacki replied: “I don’t know. I was perhaps out of my mind.”
Asked if he had wanted to kill her, he answered: “No.” But that was rejected by the jury.