A man has been convicted of killing his flatmate in a bloody knife fight at an Aberdeen high-rise.
Bohdan Cieslar, 59, inflicted two major wounds to Aleksander Smerdel’s chest and arm in the fatal assault at Donside Court, just two days after Christmas.
Czech-born Cieslar – who was charged with murdering Mr Smerdel, 44 – claimed he killed his work colleague in self defence.
A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday found him not guilty of murder but convicted him of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Lord Pentland remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing on September 12. The judge told jurors that it had been an “anxious case”.
Mr Smerdel, who worked as an upholsterer, left family in his native Poland, the court heard.
Following the fatal attack he was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but was unresponsive.
Giving evidence, Cieslar said that his victim was a strong man, who was taller, heavier and younger than him.
He said: “He has assaulted me so many times. I never even hit him back, nothing.”
He claimed that at the time of the killing Mr Smerdel went to grab him by the neck and he fell on to a computer table while he had a knife in his right hand.
He said that Mr Smedler lost his balance and fell next to him and he thought the blade had gone into his stomach.
The injury to the victim’s arm was inflicted when he got up and went to strike him as he tried to shield his head, still holding the knife, he said.
He told the court that he would never think of taking Mr Smerdel on in a fight.
Cieslar, who has previous convictions for assault, stalking and abusive and threatening behaviour, later told a police officer: “I didn’t murder. He murder me.”
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Allan Smith, who had employed both men, said Mr Smerdel was an alcoholic who “had his demons”.
He was asked how Mr Smerdel and Cieslar generally got on and replied: “They had a bit of a love-hate relationship in my opinion. They would constantly bicker, like a married couple.”
Detective Inspector Gary Winter, who led the inquiry, today welcomed the verdict.
He said: “I would like to thank local residents and colleagues of Mr Smerdel for their assistance throughout the investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Smerdel and hope today’s conviction affords closure for them.”