Highbury man cleared of murder after booze-fuelled stabbing

A DRINKER who stabbed a man to death after a row has been cleared of murder by an Old Bailey jury.

Andrew Whitefield, 52, of Horsell Road, Highbury, knifed 27-year-old Maciej Novak before telling the victim’s wife: “I have stabbed your husband three times. I think I have killed him.”

But he was cleared after a week-long trial in which he claimed he was attacked first and during a struggle to defend himself Mr Novak suffered the fatal wounds.

The two men had been drinking together, along with Mr Novak’s wife Jacqueline, at the home of friend Maria Burns, in Forge Place, Kentish Town, on October 30 last year.

Mr Novak, from Kensal Rise, had taken a bottle of vodka and four cans of Budweiser to the flat, his wife had four cans of lager and Whitefield had also visited a shop before arriving at about 10.30pm.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts said a “significant” amount of alcohol was consumed between the group, before the two men fell out when Mr Novak accused Whitefield of “touching” his wife.

The pair were pulled apart, but when others in the flat fell asleep the two men fought again.

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Mrs Novak was woken in the early hours of July 31 by Whitefield, who told her: “I have stabbed your husband three times.

“I think I have killed him.

“If you don’t believe me go and look in Maria’s bedroom. He’s down by the side of Maria’s bed on the floor.”

Whitefield left the property and was caught on CCTV close to his home in Highbury, at 1.33am. Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene and Mr Novak was operated on in the street before being taken to the Royal London Hospital.

He underwent further surgery, but his condition deteriorated and Mr Novak was pronounced dead at 12.30pm on October 31.

Mr Bennetts told the jury Whitefield did not dispute that he caused the fatal injuries which killed Mr Novak.

Whitefieldwas cleared after insisting he acted in self-defence.