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Great Britain

Ryanair pilot jailed for 'overwhelming psychological torment' of girlfriend who suffered mental breakdown and killed their baby

A Ryanair pilot has been jailed after subjecting his girlfriend to relentless psychological torment which led to her having a mental breakdown and stabbing their baby to death.

Flight captain Peter Chilvers, 33, repeatedly threatened to kill former flight attendant Magda Lesicka, also 33, if she removed their son from his care and she felt trapped in their toxic relationship, a court heard.

Between December 2015 and August 2017 Chilvers subjected the Polish national to a campaign of abuse, which included using or threatening physical violence, forcing her into degrading sexual acts, isolating her from her friends, and restricting her finances.

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Chilvers also nicknamed Lesicka “sheep” and referred to himself as a “sheep owner”, the court heard, while Lesicka told the jury the pilot would pick hairs from his forehead and force her to swallow them.

The pilot warned her in a “visceral” phone call, played in court, that she did not have the financial resources to win a custody battle and shouted: “I want James to have brothers and sisters...not a half brother and sister with a f**king moron that you find.”

Lesicka killed their 23-month-old son James in a sustained attack at her home in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, in August 2017, and then tried to take her own life.

She was jailed for 15 years last year after pleading guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The Crown accepted Lesicka’s defence that she killed James following a breakdown induced by the “deliberate, relentless and ultimately overwhelming psychological torment” inflicted by Chilvers, who had portrayed a “landscape of unending misery if she did not comply with his demands”.

She was sentenced on the basis that her mental illness emerged suddenly and without any warning, and she had no memory of committing the offence.

Chilvers, from Northwich, Cheshire, denied any wrongdoing and subsequently went on trial at Manchester Crown Court where a jury convicted him last month of controlling or coercive behaviour.

Reporting restrictions were lifted on Thursday as Chilvers was jailed for 18 months.

The court heard the couple met while working for the budget airline and had been in a relationship since 2010 but Chilvers had an affair from 2014 with another Ryanair cabin crew member, Lisa Spencer, who is now his partner and mother to his two young daughters.

During Lesicka’s sentencing at Preston Crown Court last year, Mr Justice Dove said: “James Chilvers was not yet two years old when he was brutally stabbed to death by you.

“He was caught as a tragic innocent victim between two warring parents. 

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of that dispute, the last thing that should have happened is he lose his life – killed by a parent.”

Coercive and controlling behaviour was only passed into law in England and Wales in December 2015 as an offence under the Serious Crime Act.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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