EXCLUSIVE: Man convicted of 'murder' of champion athlete will be extradited to Romania to fa
A MAN convicted of killing a Romanian athletics champion has given up his battle to stop being extradited to face justice. Vasilica-Viorel Baciu, 35, became one of Romania's most wanted fugitives after coming to the UK after he was freed on licence after the death of champion runner Stefan Pavel in 2013, but broke his curfew conditions and fled to the UK. He was convicted in his absence and is wanted to serve a four-year jail term. He was arrested in the UK in January. He had been sought in the UK for murder and GBH since 2016 after he began posting pictures of himself on Facebook, including one of him smiling in a London park (top image). Baciu was living in a flat in Holloway Road, North London, at the time of his arrest. Last month Westminster Magistrates' Court heard he would fight the bid to extradite him to Romania - with one of the grounds that prison conditions were too bad in his native country and he was at risk from bed bugs and mould. However, on Friday he threw in the towel and consented to be extradited to Romania in custody.
KILLED: Stefan Pavel
Stefan Pavel, 26, was a bronze medalist for Romania at the European Championships. He died a few weeks after being punched by Baciu and falling and hitting his head on the pavement. According to the Romanian media, after being freed on bail, Baciu was one of several Romanian fugitives who fled to the UK in 2014 when the country was given EU free movement rights. The death happened in the early hours of September 22 2013 after Baciu had been drinking with friends.
MUGSHOT: Baciu in a Romanian Police wanted image
He bumped into Mr Pavel, who was a friend since childhood, but they got into an argument and a fight started. During the fight Baciu punched Mr Pavel, who fell. Baciu, who claims he was provoked and reacted out of fear, reportedly tried to give him first aid at the scene.
Extraditions from the UK to many countries are currently delayed due to coronavirus travel restrictions, so it is not clear when he will go, but will remain in custody until then.