A man who stabbed a charity worker to death with a broken bottle at a children’s playground has been jailed for life.
Robert Wieczorkowski, 33, thrust the jagged glass beer bottle three inches (7.5cm) into the neck of Dawid Kurdziel, 23, on 3 July last year.
The force of the blow severed several vital organs and the charity worker suffered significant blood loss and died before he could be taken to hospital.
A court heard the victim had gone to Ketley Recreation Ground in Telford, Shrops after his friend was threatened by a group of yobs who had been drinking.
Mr Kurdziel and his pal were stood behind a fence when Wieczorkowski approached them, smashed a glass bottle and stabbed Mr Kurdziel in the neck.
Manhunt launched after Wieczorkowski fled
Police launched a huge manhunt after identifying Polish national Wieczorkowski as the main suspect while he fled to Scotland. At the time West Mercia Police appealed for information saying they believed he had links to the Aberdeen area.
He was arrested in the Handsworth area of Birmingham more than a month later on August 14 and was charged with murder.
Wieczorkowski, of Telford, was found guilty at Stafford Crown Court and was today (Thurs) jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 18 years.
Detective Inspector Lee Holehouse, of West Mercia Police, said afterwards: “Robert Wieczorkowski has not shown any remorse for his horrendous act.
“Following the incident, he looked to avoid taking responsibility for his actions by going on the run throughout different parts of the UK.
“He evaded capture for a number of weeks before being tracked down to the Handsworth area of Birmingham where he was quickly arrested.
“Throughout this investigation, he has maintained his stance that his actions were in self-defence and that he did not intend to kill or seriously harm Mr Kurdziel.
“But this was rejected by the jury and Wieczorkowski will rightfully spend many years in prison.
“I would like to thank everybody that came forward to the police in support of this investigation – in particular, those within the Polish community who provided key information which ultimately helped secure this conviction.
“I would also like to praise the family of Dawid Kurdziel for the quiet dignity they have shown during this investigation and our thoughts remain with them.”
‘He was precious to us all’
Mr Kurdziel’s family previously paid tribute to him, saying he was “precious to us all.”
In a statement, they said: “Dawid was a great brother, son, uncle and friend.
“He was a very happy person, always smiling, and that’s how he will be remembered.
“He would do anything to keep family and friends from harm’s way.
“He was precious to us all. He is badly missed and loved deeply.
“Dawid - forever in our hearts.”