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Mark Blades, 29, had worked a 12-hour shift at Nottingham pizza restaurantHe was grabbed and stabbed by Marcin Cwiakalo, 21, who worked nearbyCwiakalo admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibilityNottingham Crown Court hears that Cwiakalo is paranoid schizophrenic
Today judge ordered he be detained indefinitely at Rampton secure hospitalMr Blades’ girlfriend Ella Wolstencroft, 27, says ‘Mark was always so happy’

A Pizza Express chef’s good turn cost him his life when he was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a Polish migrant worker, a court heard today.

Mark Blades, who was described as a ‘gentle and decent man’, should have been at home at the night he was brutally stabbed, but had agreed to work extra hours to help out a sick colleague.

The 29-year-old had just finished a 12-hour shift when he stepped into a rear service area of the Nottingham restaurant for a cigarette.

But he was confronted by total stranger Marcin Cwiakalo, a kitchen porter at a nearby restaurant in Nottingham city centre, and stabbed in a ‘random and motiveless’ attack on June 20 last year.

CCTV footage played to Nottingham Crown Court showed Cwiakalo, 21, grabbing and dragging Mr Blades before lunging at him with a large kitchen knife.

Mr Blades, who police said was simply ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’, suffered three deep knife wounds to vital organs and died at the scene.


The hearing was told paranoid schizophrenic Cwiakalo then fled, running to a nearby Tesco store where he was detained by security staff after swigging vodka he had taken from a shelf.

He was taken to hospital before being charged with murder.

Neil Moore, prosecuting, said Mr Blades had been due to work a 10am to 7pm shift but had agreed to work extra hours to cover for a colleague who had called in sick. He was attacked at around 10.20pm.

The court heard Cwiakalo, of Radford, Nottingham, had first come to the UK in 2010. A week before the killing, he had landed a job as a kitchen porter at Frankie and Benny’s restaurant next door to the Pizza Express where Mr Blades worked.

Mr Moore told the court Cwiakalo was due to work an 8pm to 11pm shift, but was asked by his boss to leave halfway through because of his ‘weird, strange and creepy behaviour’.

Mr Moore said he had refused to wear his Frankie and Benny’s top and had appeared ‘spaced out as in some sort of a trance’.

A manager called the police at around 9.30pm after Cwiakalo refused to leave, and he was escorted from the restaurant.

But after the officers left, he returned and entered via a rear entrance, taking a knife from the kitchen.

His boss followed him outside and saw him hiding the knife behind his back while ‘grinning evilly’ but in a ‘calm and relaxed’ manner.

She retreated inside and called the police again. But the two restaurants shared the same rear service area, and at around 10.20pm Mr Blades, who lived in Nottingham but was originally from Stewarton, Ayrshire, was stabbed after he stepped out for a cigarette break.

He was left lying in a pool of blood.

The court heard Cwiakalo had no convictions in the UK, but had been given a community penalty in his native Poland a year before the killing for possession of cannabis.

British Police learned that shortly before he left Poland, he had been arrested after he was seen hitting a wall with an axe and a hammer. However, he wasn’t prosecuted.


‘This was a random, senseless, motiveless and violent knife attack when all Mr Blades was doing was having a cigarette break’

– Judge Nigel Godsmark, QC

Psychiatrists diagnosed Cwiakalo with paranoid schizophrenia. He told doctors that a year before he stabbed Mr Blades, he had started to suffer from delusions that he was living inside a television set and playing a role in a TV show in which there were black and white zones.

The black zone was populated by ‘evil people’ who he felt compelled to kill. Doctors noted they had rarely come across such a ‘well-behaved’ paranoid as Cwiakalo.

Stephen Gosnell, defending, said Cwiakalo was ‘bitterly sorry’ for what he had done. He claimed he couldn’t remember killing Mr Blades, but when shown CCTV of the attack, he was ‘appalled and disgusted’ by his actions, and asked for his ‘sincere apologies’ to be passed to Mr Blades’ family and friends.

The court heard Mr Blades’ family were still too upset to attend court.

In an impact statement Ella Wolstencroft, 27, Mr Blades’ partner of 12 years, described him as a ‘gentle and funny person who cared for everyone he met.’

She added: ‘He was a very humble man, loved and respected by all, despised rude behaviour and was committed to his work.’

Judge Nigel Godsmark QC, sentencing, described Mr Blades as a ‘gentle, good-humoured, hard-working and decent man’ who was liked by his colleagues and friends, and loved by his family and long-term partner.


 ‘Mark was a funny, kind, gentle buy with lots of friends… We had talked about marriage but we thought we had plenty of time.’

  – Ella Wolstencroft, 27, Mr Blades’ girlfriend


He added: ‘This was a random, senseless, motiveless and violent knife attack on Mr Blades, when all he was doing was having a cigarette break.’

He told Cwiakalo, who denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, he had ‘uprooted forever’ the lives of those closest to Mr Blades.

Judge Godsmark ruled that he should be held indefinitely at Rampton top security hospital.

He added that should there come a time that Cwiakalo was diagnosed as being cured of his condition, he should serve a minimum jail sentence of 20 years.

Mr Blades had been with Miss Wolstencroft since high school, and they moved to Nottingham in 2009.

Miss Wolstencroft said after the case: ‘Mark loved his job and worked hard at it. He was your typical chef, a perfectionist who knew exactly what he wanted and made sure he got it.

‘He was a funny, kind, gentle guy, with lots of friends. He was the kind of guy who would wake up singing in the morning – he was always so happy for his life.’

‘Mark and I had talked about marriage, but we thought we had plenty of time’

She added: ‘That night, Mark had just finished his shift and had called me to say he’d be home soon. He wasn’t supposed to be there. He’d finished three hours earlier but had stayed late to help out. That’s the kind of person he was.

‘The next thing I know I get a phone call from a friend at the restaurant saying I needed to get there, that Mark had been hurt.

‘He never came home.’

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