Devastated victim tells of his heartache after his brother was beaten to death in South Yorkshire

The devastated victim of a joint-attack says his brother’s murderers have left him and his family traumatised for the rest of their lives.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:33 pm

A Sheffield Crown Court trial heard how Catalin Rizea and his brother Alexandru were attacked by Florin and Gabriel Andrei after they had been drinking vodka overnight during October 11 and 12, 2020, at Gabriel Andrei’s home on Pindar Oaks Cottages, near Kendray, Barnsley.

Florin Andrei, aged 45, and his brother Gabriel, aged 41, were found guilty of murdering Catalin and sentenced on July 1 to “life imprisonment” after he was beaten to death but Alexandru managed to escape.

In a statement, provided by his sister, Alexandru stated: “Before the incident I used to be a normal man with plans for my future – confident and full of dreams until that horrible night.”

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Pictured is murder victim Catalin Rizea.
Pictured is murder victim Catalin Rizea.

He added: "I did not think for a moment that my brother and I would escape with our lives. Everything I felt that night was fear, unbearable physical pain, weakness - pain in my soul.”

Mrs Justice Christina Lambert said the Andrei brothers were drunk and had acted jointly with the common intention of causing the Rizea brothers serious injuries but she accepted this had not been premeditated and they had not intended to kill them.

Samuel Green QC, prosecuting, said the Rizea brothers had visited the Andrei brothers because of a work connection.

He added Alexandru lost consciousness after the attack and escaped through a window after he saw Catalin in a chair and thought he was dead.

Pictured, left to right, are Florin Andrei, aged 45, of no fixed abode, and Gabriel Andrei, aged 41, of Pindar Oaks Cottages, Barnsley, who were both found guilty by a jury of the murder of Catalin Rizea and were both found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Alexandru Rizea.

The court heard Alexandru suffered bleeding on the brain and head injuries and Catalin Rizea, who was found at the property by police, sustained a brain injury and his life support was later withdrawn and he was pronounced dead on October 14, 2020.

Alexandru said: “My family and I will have to carry all the pain and suffering for our loss, not just now, but for the rest of our lives.”

He added: “They did not just commit a crime against our beloved brother, they ‘killed’ me inside and also they ‘killed’ my mother’s and our sister’s hearts.”

Despite denying the charges, Florin Andrei, of no fixed abode, and Gabriel Andrei were both found guilty by a jury on June 29 of the murder of Catalin and were both found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Alexandru.

Mrs Justice Lambert told them: “You viciously beat the Rizea brothers over a prolonged period of time.”

James Lake, also prosecuting, said Alexandru claimed the Andrei brothers had asked for money and had wanted his bank card but Mrs Justice Lambert said she cannot be sure the case involved “murder for gain”.

Mrs Justice Lambert dismissed the Andrei brothers’ claims that the Rizea brothers had fallen out and fought each other.

Lewis Power QC, defending Gabriel Andrei, said life imprisonment will deprive Gabriel Andrei of his daughter, and Amjad Malik, defending Florin Andrei, said the murder has destroyed his life.

Mrs Justice Lambert sentenced Florin Andrei and a tearful Gabriel Andrei to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 22 years and 102 days to be served before they can be considered for release.

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Drunk brothers beat man to death after a night drinking vodka turned violent