A man has been jailed for seven years following a metal bar attack on his ex-wife’s new partner, with a judge commending the bravery of a passer-by who helped stop the vicious assault. 

Rafal Burlak had at one time worked alongside his victim Slowomir Swiezyk, and when Burlak and his wife, Barbara, separated, Mr Swiezyk struck up a relationship with Mrs Burlak.

Burnley Crown Court heard that at first, Mrs Burlak continued to provide charity to her estranged husband, providing him with food and somewhere to charge his phone.

Prosecuting, Tom Challinor told the court: “This fizzled out and the relationship between the defendant and his ex-wife and Mr Swiezyk deteriorated, until that afternoon in July 2023.

“The defendant turned up at Newfield Drive in Nelson where Mr Swiezyk and Barbara Burlak were living and knocked on the door.

“Mr Swiezyk answered, and the defendant got so close to him that he thought he was trying to get into the house.

“Mr Swiezyk turned round to close the door so he could speak to the defendant on the doorstep, but unbeknownst to him the defendant had come to the house armed with an iron bar.

“He had come to the scene carrying it in a carrier bag and he produced the bar and struck Mr Swiezyk to the shins.

“He fell to the ground and Burlak rained down blows on him as he lay on the floor.

“He suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung and Burlak could be heard shouting, ‘I will f*** you up’.

“The victim tried to cover his head with his hands, but Burlak was able to continue inflicting injuries on Mr Swiezyk.”

Mr Challinor said a brave passer-by saw what was happening and intervened, raising the alarm with neighbours, and effectively being the catalyst for Burlak ceasing his attack and leaving the scene.

Mr Challinor went on: “The defendant put on his cap and sunglasses and placed the metal bar back in the carrier bag and walked past the passer-by, leaving Mr Swiezyk on the ground.”

Burlak, 38, of no fixed abode, denied grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon but was found guilty of both charges following a trial earlier this year.

Mr Swiezyk said the assault had “changed his life forever”, with he and Mrs Burlak living in constant fear of follow up attacks.

In mitigation, Philip Holden said his client, “continues to deny his role in this enterprise but accepts he will be sentenced on the basis he was responsible for it”.

He went on: “He has been in this country for 14 years and during that time he has lived a law-abiding lifestyle and worked hard for a variety of local businesses.”

Jailing Burlak for seven years, Judge Daniel Prowse said: “I am satisfied based on the evidence that you struck Mr Swiezyk more than three times, and this was a sustained assault on a man who was vulnerable, with a fearsome weapon.”

Judge Prowse also commended the passer-by in this case, Sandy Dickinson, who, while out walking her dog on July 28, 2023, went to intervene in the attack.

Judge Prowse added: “I am satisfied that her actions prevented the escalation of an already serious incident.

“She went on to provide evidence at trial and she placed the safety of a man she didn’t know above her own.

“It was brave and publicly spirited, and she has proved an example to us all about how best to act in the community.

“I issue a certificate of commendation to her for her bravery in acting the way she did in this case.

“I direct the High Sheriff of Lancashire to award her with £250 as a reward to reflect the public appreciation of her bravery.”