Florian Baboi was today jailed for life for the murder of 63 year old David McArthur at his Northfield home in August last year.
This press release from West Midlands Police:
A drunk who killed a 63-year-old man in his Northfield home during a frenzied beating has been told he will spend at least the next 23 years in prison after being found guilty of murder.
Florian Baboi, a Romanian National, punched and kicked David McArthur to death in the early hours of Saturday August 20 last year.His body was found two days later when a neighbour, concerned Mr McArthur hadn’t been seen over the weekend, peered through the letterbox of his house in Woodbrooke Grove to find him slumped in a pool of blood at the foot of his stairs.Paramedics attended the scene at 1.30pm on Monday August 22 but concluded Mr McArthur had been dead for some time.
Not long before the gruesome find Baboi had escaped the country on an overnight coach to Romania.
But following a wide-scale West Midlands Police investigation – working with officials in Bucharest and the local Eastern European community – Baboi was arrested on September 12 in Romania and dragged back to the UK to face justice under a European Arrest Warrant.
Baboi denied attacking Mr McArthur, claiming he fended him off in self-defence, but a unanimous jury at Birmingham Crown Court today (May 2) found him guilty of murder. He will serve at least 23 years in jail before being considered for release and deportation to Romania.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Ian Iliffe, said: “David McArthur died in his own home at the hands of Florian Baboi, a man he’d befriended.
“What happened in the house that night would have been totally unexpected. The murder was fuelled by Florian Baboi’s greed: he stole from David and then at some point chose to kill him.
“Detectives followed a trail in pursuit of the killer that took them from the scene of the murder to Birmingham City Centre, West Bromwich, Dover and eventually Romania where Baboi was located and arrested with the support of Romanian Police.
“It’s disappointing that, despite the weight of evidence against him, Baboi pleaded his innocence and instead tried to pass blame on to David. The jury saw through his deceit, though, and convicted him of murder.
“Our thoughts are with David’s family…I hope they can take some comfort from this conviction and knowledge that Baboi will spend a long time in prison.”
The court heard how Baboi and Mr McArthur met on a night out in Birmingham on August 19 before returning to Woodbrooke Grove.
But at some time in the early hours – believed to be around 3.15am – Baboi flipped and laid into his victim with a succession of kicks and punches.
Forensics experts linked Baboi to bloodied prints found on Mr McArthur’s shirt, whilst a Tag Heuer watch belonging to the victim was found during a search of an address in West Bromwich where he’d stopped before fleeing the country.
The 35-year-old was also picked out in ID parades by a bus driver and passenger who described him as blood stained and “swaying all over the place” when he boarded a 6.30am service in Bristol Road just hours after the killing.
It’s believed Baboi had loaded a flat-screen TV, lap-top, DVD player and other items into Mr McArthur’s car but, given his drunken state, opted not to drive away from the murder scene for fear of crashing the car or alerting traffic police.
Baboi tried to persuade the court he’d acted in self defence and that his victim had asked him to load the car in preparation for a weekend visit to Glasgow.
However, the jury heard how Mr McArthur’s stamp injuries – which broke several ribs – were most likely delivered whilst he lay defenceless on the floor and were not from a “mutual fight”.
Police forensics experts also found the Romanian’s bloodied fingerprints on the TV and elsewhere in the car which crushed claims he was merely helping pack the vehicle – whilst Mr McArthur’s family were unaware of any planned visit.Det Insp Iliffe, added: “This was a lengthy, complex investigation and I’d like to thank everyone from the Romanian community both at home and abroad who assisted us and helped bring this murderer to justice.
“He was quickly extradited back to the UK under the authority of a European Arrest Warrant to face the charge of murder – it was a great example of international co-operation and ‘global law enforcement’.”
The court heard how Baboi – who has previous convictions in Romania and Hungary for drug trafficking – arrived in the UK on New Year’s Day 2011 but within five weeks was involved in petty crime.
And he was released from prison for a shoplifting offence just two weeks before killing Mr McArthur.
His Honour Judge James Burbidge told Baboi: “You are a youthful, muscular man who subjected a significantly older, smaller man to a most brutal and cowardly attack…you used your fists to deadly effect and even if you did not intend to kill him you certainly intended to inflict very serious harm.
“Good police work and DNA analysis saw you swiftly identified as the main suspect; I’d like to thank West Midlands Police for their diligent work and for supporting the victim’s family throughout.”
A joint statement issued by Mr McArthur’s family read: “We feel justice has been served for our brother David. He will be sorely missed and, although we know nothing can ever bring him back, this guilty verdict helps in a small way to give our family some closure.
“We would like to thank both the justice system and West Midlands Police for their work in bringing David’s killer to justice.”