May 18 2013 Latest news:
, News Editor
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A double killer who made legal history by becoming the first person to be brought to court in a hospital bed for trial is facing a life sentence.
Sergei Zolotovsky, 44, paralysed himself after leaping from a prison balcony in the second of two suicide attempts made after stabbing his ex-wife and mother-in-law to death.
He confronted 40-year-old Svetlana Zolotovska in a park, stabbing her 18 times in a frenzied attack before sitting astride her and slitting her throat.
After sprinting to their former marital home, he killed her mother, 70-year- old Antonia Belska, in a near-identical attack.
Latvian Zolotovsky then tried to burn down the house by setting fire to a duvet, before retreating to the loft where he tried cut his own throat.
He denied murder, claiming he could not remember the fatal stabbings, but an Old Bailey jury took just over 30 minutes to convict him.
Flanked by nurses and sitting propped up in his hospital bed in the well of the court, Zolotovsky showed no emotion as the verdicts were delivered.
Judge Stephen Kramer QC adjourned sentencing until April 27 for psychiatric reports to be prepared, before thanking court and medical staff for their help with the legal first. He had earlier explained the “unusual circumstances” to the jury.
He said: “As you can see, and as you were told when empanelled, the defendant is unusually in a bed and not in the dock. Mr Zolotovsky tried to commit suicide before he was arrested by police. He cut his wrists.
“He made a second attempt to kill himself when he was in custody. As a result he sustained extensive injuries, including extensive paralysis.”
unable to sit in the dock in the normal way. That is by way of an explanation to the unusual circumstances pertaining to this court.”
Zolotovsky “brutally stabbed” 40-year-old Ms Zolotovska to death as she walked to walk through Beckton Park on August 12, 2010.
She was heading for her job at the private Wellington Hospital in St John’s Wood where she worked as a pharmacy technician.
The fatal attack was witnessed by shocked onlookers, including Newham Council park attendants and gardeners. Zolotovsky told them: “Go away or I will kill you.”
After sprinting back to his former marital home in Leamouth Road, he smashed his way in through a patio door with a plant pot and killed his mother-in-law. Police later found him in the loft, cowering behind the water tank.
Zolotovsky planned the murders against the backdrop of ongoing divorce proceedings and had bought the stainless steel chef’s knife from Asda the same day.
During the trial, he claimed he had done so as part of a plan to commit suicide after a County Court ruling went in his wife’s favour. “The divorce proceedings had been acrimonious and the defendant felt he had not been listened to, and he had lost everything,” said Ms Johnson. “The evidence suggests he was paranoid and had convinced himself that his wife had been unfaithful to him.”
In a rambling letter found at his home by police, Zolotovsky is said to have ranted that his wife was a “sinner” who had “betrayed” him.
“On the day that the financial settlement was finalised, August 10, the defendant bought a large kitchen knife,” said Ms Johnson. “He knew his ex-wife’s route to work and so on August 12, in that angry frame of mind, he laid in wait for her.
“He attacked both women with the large kitchen knife, using it to cut both women’s throats.”
She added: “It is perhaps not without significance that the defendant seems to have chosen his former family home that he so resented leaving to his ex-wife as the location of his attempted suicide.”
Ms Belska had moved to the UK in June the previous year to help her daughter work through the break-up of her marriage.
In 2009, Ms Zolotovska had allegedly told a neighbour she was “scared and her husband had threatened to kill her and burn the house down”.
She counter-petitioned him for divorce, citing unreasonable behaviour, in response to his own claim that she had been committing adultery.
Zolotovsky, denied two counts of murder.