Boyfriend who stabbed popular West Hampstead barmaid to death will not face murder charge

Natalia Czekaj was stabbed seven times

Natalia Czekaj was stabbed seven times - Credit: Archant

A man who almost decapitated a popular West Hampstead barmaid with a kitchen knife will not be tried for murder because of his alcoholism.

James Richardson,34, knifed girlfriend Natalia Czekaj, also 34, at least seven times in the neck, back and chest after a drinking session at their home.

The attack was so severe that Richardson almost cut her head off causing injuries consistent ‘with a sawing motion with a serrated bread knife’, the Old Bailey heard.

Polish national Miss Czekaj, who was a barmaid at The Alliance pub, in West Hampstead, was pronounced dead at the scene in Berridge Green, Edgware, after paramedics were called in the early hours of January 6 this year.

As reported in the Ham & High, regulars at the pub launched a fundraising appeal smashing their £3,000 target to raise £8,400 to repatriate the body of the “kind and caring” barmaid to her family in Poland and pay for her funeral.

An analysis of Richardson’s blood showed 348mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - more than four times the drink driving limit.

Richardson admitted manslaughter at the Old Bailey in June, but pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

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The prosecution announced this morning that they would accept the plea and not pursue a trial for murder.

Remanding Richardson in custody, Judge John Bevan QC said this was the only outcome because of his ‘extreme alcoholic dependence’.

But he warned the defendant faces jail when he is sentenced on October 2.