Frankston father cleared of burglar’s death speaks out

A heroic father who faced a two-year legal ordeal before he was cleared over the death of a burglar says he has no regrets and would do it again.

Russell Harrison intervened when Adam Slomczewski assaulted his female neighbour in Frankston, Victoria, on December 11, 2015.

He had heard his neighbour scream and rushed over to see her pinned against the wall, he told the Herald Sun.

The struggle ended with the 44-year-old convicted burglar and drug addict’s death and Mr Harrison facing an inquiry.

Since then, Mr Harrison’s wife – who was already battling a debilitating illness – has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Russell Harrison intervened when a burglar assaulted his female neighbour in December 2015

Their three children have also been troubled by it.

But in July last year, the Office of Public Prosecutions found there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction. 

This month, the state coroner completed her examination into the death and found Mr Slomczewski died from ‘cardiac arrhythmia in the setting of struggle, neck compression and amphetamine use,’ according to the Herald Sun.

Mr Harrison, a bodyguard and security company boss, himself has recently recovered from the arm and knee injuries he sustained during the struggle in his neighbour’s home.

But despite the incident taking a massive toll of his family mentally as well as financially, Mr Harrison said he wouldn’t hesitate to act if the same situation arose again.

The struggle ended with the death of 44-year-old ice user Adam Slomczewski (pictured)

The struggle ended with the death of 44-year-old ice user Adam Slomczewski (pictured)

‘I don’t see myself as a hero,’ he told the Herald Sun.

‘I’m just somebody who went to help a neighbour. If the situation arose, I’d do the same thing.’

He added that he found it difficult to have sympathy for Slomczewski, saying ‘everyone makes their own choices.’

And the neighbour he saved, identified only as Jess, has also suffered the long-term consequences from the incident.

As well as sustaining head injuries, she hasn’t been able to return to her home.

But she is extremely grateful to Mr Harrison and relieved that he has been cleared.

‘He’s my hero,’ she said. ‘My kids have a mum because of him.’