Ipswich/Felixstowe: Family of Sebastian Kornjaca say he lashed out after homicidal attack by victim

AS Sebastian Kornjaca begins a 10-year sentence for killing a man by inflicting 27 stab wounds, his family said it was the consequence of a homicidal attack by his victim.

The 22-year-old went to Lee Jackson’s flat in Chesterton Close, Ipswich, after he believed the 43-year-old had tried to set light to the home of his girlfriend’s family in Coltsfoot Road, Ipswich, a few hours earlier.

Armed with a knife, Kornjaca had tried to disguise himself as by using black make-up on his hands and face, and wearing tights over his head, dark clothing and latex gloves.

At his sentencing it was said that Mr Jackson, who had a criminal record, had previously had trouble with black drug gangs which was why Kornjaca tried to hide the fact he was white.

Earlier this month Kornjaca, of St Anthony’s Crescent, Ipswich, was acquitted of murder, but convicted of manslaughter by loss of control.

After yesterday’s Ipswich Crown Court sentencing, his family made a statement through their solicitor Matthew Best, of Bathia Best in Nottingham.

It read: “The sentence reflects the jury’s verdict of guilty of manslaughter by reason of loss of control, not of murder. The loss of control was in response to, and in the face of, a homicidal attack by the deceased Lee Jackson.”

Most Read

The earlier arson, believed to have been carried out by Mr Jackson, was as a result of a falling out with the family of his girlfriend Clare Kislak, who was estranged from her family. Kornjaca is the childhood sweetheart of her sister Maria, who was in court with Kornjaca’s family to support him yesterday.

Gregory Dickinson, mitigating, said his client was provoked by Mr Jackson attacking him with a knife.

Of Kornjaca he said: “A person less likely to commit an offence of this seriousness is perhaps difficult to imagine. He did set up in the middle of the night to confront a dangerous man.

“This is a tragic illustration of how things can go badly wrong when people take things into their own hands.”

Mr Dickinson added one witness at Kornjaca’s trial said they had heard Mr Jackson say ‘I’ll do life for him’, as he confronted Kornjaca.

The arson at the Kislak home occurred just after midnight on October 22 and was reported to police. Kornjaca, an engineer at Felixstowe port, discovered what had happened after leaving a nightclub at 3am and decided to confront Mr Jackson.

During the ensuing incident Mr Jackson also armed himself with a knife. He subsequently died from the injuries sustained in the knife fight.

Jailing Kornjaca Judge John Devaux said the former St Albans High School pupil had originally told police Lee Jackson had got what he deserved.

The court was told as Kornjaca attempted to flee from officers at the scene he tried unsuccessfully to discard the knife he used to kill Mr Jackson in some bushes.

Judge Devaux told the 22-year-old his first interview with detectives was at odds with the sorrow he expressed to the court over Mr Jackson’s death.

The judge said: “Shortly after your arrest for attempted murder, far from expressing remorse, you said to officers ‘he (Lee Jackson) had it coming – he fired up the flat earlier with a baby inside, he deserves it’.

“I’m satisfied you knew perfectly well you had inflicted grave injury upon him.”

Judge Devaux added the jury had rejected Kornjaca’s self defence claim, but had concluded he had lost control or may have lost control. That loss may have been attributable to fear of serious violence from Mr Jackson.

The court heard it had been open to the trial jury to find that Mr Jackson was the first person to use a knife. However, the judge said he did not accept Kornjaca produced the knife as late as he had claimed, adding: “I’m satisfied that you produced the knife before he produced his to you.

“Despite your knowing police had been called you carried out what was rightly described as a frenzied attack on Lee Jackson inflicting some 27 injuries. You continued to stab him when he ceased to be a threat and was rendered helpless by you.

“Your own actions caused a reaction in Lee Jackson, which in turn may have led you to lose your self control. He reacted to your behaviour in a way you would have expected him to react.

“You must have been a frightening sight (disguised in black clothing, latex gloves and black make-up) and Lee Jackson - whatever his record - and others were entitled to detain you and disarm you.”

However, Judge Devaux concluded by saying he acknowledged there was a substantial degree of provocation over a short period.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter