A man who killed his friend and flatmate in a brutal knife attack at the home they shared has been jailed for nine years.
Bohdan Cieslar, 60, inflicted major wounds to Aleksander Smerdel’s chest, damaging his heart in the fatal assault at a block of flats in Aberdeen.
A judge told Cieslar he must have been close to his victim when he stabbed him and Mr Smerdel clearly attempted to ward off his blows and had injuries to his arm and hands.
Lord Pentland said he accepted Cieslar’s relationship with the victim was “a challenging and unstable one” and Mr Smerdel could become aggressive and bullying when he had been drinking.
The judge said that Mr Smerdel had come into Cieslar’s bedroom uninvited after drinking heavily.
He said: “You have expressed remorse and have some insight of the impact of your crime on others.”
Cieslar was originally charged with murdering Mr Smerdel, 44, after repeatedly striking him on the body with a knife at Donside Court on December 27 last year.
He denied the crime and claimed that he acted in self-defence after he was attacked by his flatmate.
During an earlier trial at the High Court in Edinburgh a jury rejected his defence of self-defence and accident, but convicted him of the lesser crime of culpable homicide.
The trial heard that the pair had “a bit of a love-hate relationship” prior to the fatal attack.
Mr Smerdel, who worked as an upholsterer, was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but was found to be unresponsive.
Former driver Cieslar said Mr Smerdel was a strong man, who was taller, heavier and younger than him and that he would never have thought of taking him on in a fight.
He said: “He has assaulted me so many times. I never even hit him back, nothing.”
Cieslar claimed that at the time of the killing the victim attempted to grab him by the neck, causing him to fall onto a computer table while he had a knife in his right hand.
He said Mr Smerdel lost his balance and fell next to him and he thought the blade went into his stomach.
The injury to the victim’s arm occurred when he got back up and attempted to strike him as he tried to shield his head, still holding the knife, he claimed.
He was asked whether he struck him with the knife and replied: “According to everything, yes.”
Cieslar added: “I wasn’t aware It was fatal. I was in shock. It just took a split second to turn my whole life around.”
Defence counsel Ian Duguid told the court Cieslar has never previously served a prison sentence.
“He has been convicted of, and carries the responsibility of, killing someone whom, notwithstanding their difficulties, he still considered a friend,” he said.
“At the end of the day, these two persons ended up in a conflict which took place in the accused’s bedroom in the very early hours of the morning at a time when the deceased had been heavily under the influence of alcohol.
“These are unusual circumstances.”