Romanian migrant Florin Ion has been sentenced for kicking a mother of two to death in front of horrified onlookers after just four months in the United Kingdom.
The 32-year-old migrant had been on his way to collect the rest of his family from Romania in April last year when the bus transporting him pulled into a service station near Thurrock for a comfort break, Essex Live reports.
Held up by a dispute after he attempted to force his way to the front of a queue in a nearby garage, he found a bus which looked like his own was pulling away from the station and tried to catch up with it, without success.
Ion then decided to vent his anger on stranger Julie Hunt, 47, who was on her way to work at a veterinary surgery as normal, and had signalled to him that the bus was leaving as he tried to run for it.
The Romanian hurled her to the ground and began kicking her in the head and stamping on her face, heedless of the many bystanders and the fact it was broad daylight at 8:30 in the morning, inflicting horrendous injuries.
In fact, the intensity of the attack only increased when people nearby tried to intervene, including a tanker driver whose dashcam recorded the brutal killing.
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A paramedic who tended to Julie said her injuries were consistent with someone who had suffered a car accident rather than a simple assault, with the Romanian breaking multiple bones in her face and inflicting severe brain injuries, which ultimately caused a cardiac arrest which killed her at the scene.
Ion tried to flee through a bush and hide under a car after the assault, but was eventually apprehended and detained by two other men until police arrived.
In court, he appeared to plead self-defence, saying he thought his middle-aged female victim was going to kill him.
“I was scared, I was afraid. I do not want to kill her, I am sorry. I was afraid she was going to kill me,” he said in a statement. “I never intended to do this. I had no intention to do such a thing.”
Sentencing judge Patricia Lynch QC described Julie as “a wonderful, intelligent mother, daughter, sister and partner and, I quote, ‘with a wicked sense of humour and wit’,” and the killing as “savage”.
“The prosecution describes it as brutal and sustained… it was certainly prolonged and when members of the public approached in an effort to stop the attack, on his own admission he increased the violence on her,” she noted.
However, the life sentence which she handed the migrant had a minimum tariff of only 18 years and four months, meaning he will in all likelihood not even be 50 by the time he is eligible for release.
He is said to have smiled as he was led away to the cells.