An angler was stabbed with a kitchen knife when two men burst into his Coventry home in a row over a fishing rod – and his attackers have escaped without a custodial prison sentence.
Leamington Crown Court heard the assault followed a ‘‘trivial’’ dispute between two workmates over the rod.
The victim had borrowed a rod from one of his attackers who turned up at his home late at night demanding it back.
Brothers-in-law Mateusz Bebenek, 24 and Radoslaw Kukuryk, 31, both pleaded not guilty to a charge of wounding with intent.
However, in an unexpected twist, on the second day of their trial the two men, both of Coventry, admitted an alternative offence of malicious wounding, which was accepted by the prosecution.
Kukuryk was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, with 12 months’ supervision, and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Bebenek, who also admitted possessing the knife, was sentenced to two years suspended for two years, again with 12 months supervision, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 compensation to their victim.
The court heard how Dawid Ulanowicz worked at the same place as his victim; and they became friends but had a falling out prior to the incident in August last year.
Mr Ulanowicz was asleep in bed, having been out fishing when he was woken by someone kicking his front door.
Kukuryk burst in and there was a verbal exchange about a fishing rod Mr Ulanowicz had borrowed from him. Bebenek then also barged in and he and Kukuryk began to attack Mr Ulanowicz.
The victim was punched to the face, causing his mouth and nose to bleed, and the two of them continued to beat him with their fists as he was crouched down on the floor.
Bebenek walked away as Kukuryk continued to assault their victim, before he also stopped and they both left.
It was only after they had left that he realised, having felt what he described as a particularly painful blow to his side, he had been stabbed.
Mr Ulanowicz phoned a friend and then, with his clothes heavily bloodstained, left the house to meet his friend who then took him to hospital.
The stab wound did not cause any internal injury, and he was treated without the need for surgery.
Hospital staff alerted the police who spoke to him, and found the seven-inch kitchen knife Bebenek had used to stab him at his home.
When the two attackers were arrested Kukuryk said he had gone there to retrieve a fishing rod and had argued with Mr Ulanowicz.
Kukuryk lost his job as a result of the incident.
References were handed in for both men who, it was said, had acted "utterly out of character."
Recorder Richard Benson QC said: “What you did to Mr Ulanowicz was unforgivable and inexcusable; and it was all over something as relatively trivial as a fishing rod.
“People who force their way into other people’s homes at night and attack them and injure them almost inevitably go to prison immediately.
“But you have been hard-working men and you are both regarded as being excellent neighbours; you are friendly and helpful and put yourself out to assist others in your community.
“The offences you committed do cross the custody threshold, but I’m going to suspend the sentences.”