BREAKING NEWS: Murderer sentenced to life in prison

Murderer Gheorghe Badea
Murderer Gheorghe Badea

A MAN who stabbed his friend 15 times on Christmas Day, 2010, has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder today (Wednesday, May 22).

Gheorghe Badea was convicted by majority-verdict of the murder of Tasin Sugaip following a five-week trial at Lewes Crown Court.

The 55-year-old Romanian admitted stabbing his friend at the former plant nursery site off Almodington Lane, Almodington, where they were staying but said he acted in self-defence.

However, Dianne Chan, prosecuting, said he was angry on the night of the murder and later tried to cover up his actions by breaking the knife he used into pieces and throwing it over the fence of the compound.

The jury heard Mr Sugaip, who had moved to England just weeks before his death to provide for his family, had sought Badea’s help to find work because they were old friends.

He lived with him in Almodington before getting a job at a kebab shop in Bognor Regis.

On the day of his death, the university-educated Romanian he had spoken to his wife and family on Christmas Day before drinking with Badea.

At some point later in the day he was stabbed a total of 15 times by Badea – nine times in his front and six times in his back.

Detective Superintendent Nick Sloan, who as a Detective Chief Inspector with the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, investigated the case, said: “This was a tragic case in which two friends evidently fell out for some reason after a Christmas-night drinking bout. Mr Sugaip was stabbed 15 times in the chest and back.

“He had arrived in the UK just weeks earlier to earn more money to help support his family, and arranged to stay with Badea, who was already here. The pair had permission to be on the disused site to help prevent theft and to do odd jobs. Mr Sugaip then moved to a flat in Bognor, and was visiting his friend for Christmas.

“We may never know exactly what caused this vicious attack but it has cost a man his life, and deprived a wife and daughter in Romania of a loving father. Our thoughts are with his family, who gave evidence at the trial by video link from Bucharest.

“Two of our officers flew out there to liaise with Romanian authorities and to make the video link arrangements.”

During the trial, the jury heard Badea suffered from an ‘abnormality of the mind’. However, they did not believe his claims that he acted in self defence because he believed Mr Sugaip had been sent to kill him by the secret service.

Badea must serve at least 18 years of his life sentence.

For a full report of the trial see tomorrow’s Observer (Thursday, May 23, edition).