Original article no longer available
Published Date: 18 September 2008
By Catherine Varney
Court hears how Annamarie Janczuk killed her husband.
A woman has been sentanced to four years behind bars for killing her husband in a ‘moment of madness.’
Annamarie Janczuk who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after she stabbed her husband Steven Janczuk at the flat they shared in The Rally, Arlesey, appeared at Inner London Crown Court last week for sentancing.
Friends and family of the victim packed out the court last Thursday to witness the hearing – half way trough they had to be told to keep quiet by the judge.
The 34-year-old had previously been on a charge for murder after she denied she had anything to do with the stabbing.
But as the trial was due to go ahead in July, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered a lesser charge of manslaughter, which Janczuk accepted and pleaded guilty to.
She had since been remanded at Holloway Prison until her sentancing.
The court heard that on the night in question, December 30, 2006, the couple who were looking after the defendant’s niece Sasha had had a row.
Janczuk claims that her husband was acting menacingly and towering above her.
Not wanting the child to witness the argument Janczuk, pushed him out the front door and locked him out, but forgot that she had done so and went to sleep.
The couple had been drinking.
Several hours later the defendant woke up and found a silver knife that belonged in the kitchen on the carpet.
She washed it and put it back in the kitchen because she thought that her niece had been messing around with it.
However, she became concerned when she saw a stain on the carpet and saw that Steven’s car was still parked outside because she thought he had left.
The defendant who was unemployed at the time, but has had a string of jobs in the past, opened the front door and found Steven in a sitting position on the landing.
Prosecuting Lynn Tayton said: “When being interviewed by the police the defendant said she had pushed Mr Janczuk out the font door and forgot he was there.
“She said she did not know how Mr Janczuk had been stabbed and that before the argument, they had both been playing happily with Sasha.”
The victim’s parents received a hysterical phonecall from the defendant at around 5am where she was screaming and shouting saying that their son had been out in the landing all night and he was freezing.
Mrs Tayton added: “Mrs Janczuk telephoned the defendant again, but she was still hysterical.
“Mrs Janczuk then telephoned for an ambulance but at this point she didn’t realise the severity of the situation.
“The Janczuks spoke to the defendant several more times on the telephone and she said something else to them.
“She said ‘I forgot to tell you, he has been stabbed.'”
The court heard from the CPS that two paremedics attended the scene and found the victim lying on the floor in the hallway.
He was covered with a ladies coat and a cushion was under his head.
They also saw that his shirt was bloodtstained and there was pertrusion of body tissue.
Janczuk was arrested at around 7am at her flat and was taken to the police station.
The court also heard that scenes of crimes officers found spots of blood on a pair of pink jogging bottoms found in the bathrooom.
They also found that the knife that was put back by Janczuk before the ambulance crew arrived, was found to be the offending weapon.
Defending William Boyce said: “A human life has been lost and that obviusly has to be recognised by the court, as does the suffering of the family.
“But on the other hand the court has to bear in mind the culperability of the defendant.”
The court heard from Mr Boyce that Janczuk is bitterly remorseful about the incident, but claims that at the time of the stabbing she didn’t realise she had a knife in her hand.”
He went on to say: “It was a reckless act pushing Steven out the door.
“But one has to bear in mind the circumstances, which it occured.
“Mr Janczuk was standing behind the defendant towering above her in a menacing way.”
He added: “The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the earliest opportunity and the defence would argue that she should be given full credit for her plea.”
Mr Boyce argued that the judge should disregard Janczuk’s orrginal not guilty plea because at that point she did not have all the facts of the accusations being put against her.
He said the first time the defendant fully understood the charges was in July when she immediately changed her plea to guilty of manslaughter.
Mr Boyce added: “She simply could not comprehend that she had done something so awful to somebody she loved so much. She now accepts this.”
The court heard from Mr Boyce that the defendant had been diagnosed as depressed, which she was on medication for.
But at the time of the incident her husband had persuaded her that she did not need to take her medication any more.
She was also seriously anaemic at the time of the incident.
Janczuk has already spent 196 days in prison and more than 400 days in a bail hostel in London where she had to abide by a curfew and was forced to mix with hardened criminals.
Mr Boyce appealed to the judge to release the defendant considering the amount of time she had already spent in prison, or to impose a sentence of 51 weeks inprisonment suspended for two years.
The defendant was described as a woman of previous good character whose happy life fell apart in a just a ‘moment of madness.’
It was heard that she loved children and was desperate to have her own family, but for one reason or another was unable to have her own children.
Mr Boyce explained: “This is why it is easy to understand why she pushed him out the door.
“She wanted him out to save the child from witnessing any of it.
“This is what it all boils down to – just get out.”
The relationship Janczuk shared with her husband was a volatile one, however there was no evidence that she was ever physically assaulted by him.
Summing up His Honour Judge Roger Chapple said: “Steven Janczuk was 31 years of age when he met an untimely death on December 30, 2008.
“He had everything to live for. He died from a single stab wound to the stomach inflicted by his wife.
“I am well aware that this case has taken well over a year and a half to be resolved, which has made it all the more difficuilt to bear for his family.
“I have read carefully the impact statement provided by Steven Janczuk’s mother and the supporting documents and I have been very moved by what I have read.
“I offer my sincere condolences to his parents.”
Mr Chappple went on to say he believed Janczuk deeply loved her husband and was remorseful.
But he did not believe that she didn’t know she had a knife at the time of the stabbing.
He said: “It has been put forward by the defence that that she did not know that she had a knife in her hand.
“I do not accept this and it is my judgement that the defendant knew full well that she had a knife in her hand.
“I also believe that she did intend to cause harm to her husband, all be it not serious crime, but harm of some kind.”
“Having taken everything into account I feel the only appropriate sentence is one of imprisonment.”
Janczuk was sentenced to four years in prison, including the 196 days she has already spent locked up.
After the case det supt Paul Coombes said: “This was a tragic waste of a young life and I am pleased for Steven’s family, and the officers who worked so diligently on this case, that a conviction has been successfully obtained.”
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