Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 16:26 UK

Man 'stabbed landlord 83 times' in Lancashire

Peter Berkley
Mr Berkley was a "generally very well-regarded" landlord, the court heard

A man stabbed his west Lancashire landlord 83 times and then went to buy alcohol with bloodstained bank notes, a court heard.

Michal Kalinowski, 22, is accused of murdering Peter Berkley, 43, because he "resented" being pursued for rent he owed, Preston Crown Court heard.

He stabbed Mr Berkley with such force that one knife wound penetrated his skull, jurors were told.

Mr Kalinowski, of Abbeyshead, Skelmersdale, denies murder.

He claims he acted in self-defence, and had picked up the 8in (20cm) kitchen knife, allegedly used in the attack, to protect himself after Mr Berkley "lunged" at him on 6 November last year.

The court heard Mr Berkley and his family ran a rental property business in and around Liverpool, with one property, Abbeystead in Skelmersdale, split into flats where Mr Kalinowski and other Eastern Europeans lived while working in local factories.

Out of work

Jurors were told he was "generally very well-regarded" as a landlord by his tenants and would find them work on his other properties if they could not pay their rent.

By early November, Mr Kalinowski had been out of work for three months and owed £600 in rent arrears.

On 5 November, Mr Kalinowski gave Mr Berkley £200 of the money he owed with an arrangement to pay the balance the next day.

Mr Berkley went to the property the following day to collect what he was owed.

"It's within that flat when only two persons were present that Peter Berkley died at the hands of Michal Kalinowski," Charles Brown, prosecuting, said.

The amount of blood that had been spilt was copious... and then he acted to the best of his ability as if nothing had happened
Charles Brown, prosecutor

"It seems inside the flat Mr Kalinowski had first paid Peter Berkley £200 of the outstanding monies. That was not the full amount.

"Subsequently it is not clear exactly what happened. Mr Kalinowski states, the prosecution do not necessarily accept this, an argument broke out."

Mr Brown said Mr Kalinowski tried to clean up the flat after the attack.

"The amount of blood that had been spilt was copious, ladies and gentleman, and then he acted to the best of his ability as if nothing had happened.

"He went to Asda with one of the other residents to buy alcohol.

"When he paid it was noted the bank notes were stained with blood."

Mr Kalinowski later dragged the body outside his flat and dumped it in bushes in the garden, covering it in bin bags and leaves, the court heard.

Stuart Denney QC, defending, told the jurors he would be asking them to clear the defendant of murder but find him guilty of manslaughter.

However, the prosecution disputes Mr Kalinowki's claims that there was a fight in the flat.

The trial continues.



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