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Bedfordshire’s most wanted bogus delivery driver is jailed

14 Oct 2021

A man who posed as a delivery driver before seriously assaulting two women and a teenage girl in their own home, as shown on a recent episode of 24 Hours in Police Custody, has been jailed for 11 years.

Sandel Hornea, 36, of Hitchin Road, Luton, attempted to evade capture by fleeing to mainland Europe just hours after the incident in September 2019, after CCTV of the incident in Luton appeared online.

However, our detectives worked with Romanian authorities to pursue Hornea, who was arrested in February this year and extradited back to the UK.

Hornea turned up at the address in Montrose Avenue at around 10.30am on 2 September 2019 wearing a hi-vis jacket and with a parcel under his arm, before ringing the doorbell.

Once inside, he went on to assault two women by hitting them. Both of the victims lost consciousness and suffered serious injuries.

He dragged them both into the kitchen and then went into the living room, where he stole a satellite TV decoder, a Nintendo Wii console and another games console.

Another woman then came downstairs. Hornea also assaulted her before leaving the scene on foot with the stolen property.

The suspect fled the county via London Luton Airport just hours after the offence, and travelled between several countries in order to avoid detection.

Our officers were aided in their efforts to track Hornea down by authorities at the Romanian Embassy in the UK and in Romania, which all worked together to try and arrest him.

He was eventually located in Romania on 11 February and remanded in custody there until he was brought back to the UK.

Hornea pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, one count of actual bodily harm (ABH) and two counts of grievous bodily harm (GBH) at two separate court appearances in May and July this year.

Today (Thursday) at Luton Crown Court, Hornea was jailed for 11 years for the robbery; seven years two months and six years nine months respectively for the GBH offences, and 13 months for the ABH.

All of these sentences will be served at the same time.

Hornea will also face an extended period of five years on licence, given the judge identified him as a dangerous offender.

Detective Sergeant Tom Hamm, from Bedfordshire Police CID, said: “I am pleased that this vile man will be spending a long time behind bars and that viewers of 24 Hours in Police Custody were able to see first-hand the work we put in to bring this offender to justice.

“Hornea displayed no remorse or empathy towards his three female victims. The brutality of this attack is really shocking and I am glad we have been able to secure justice for these women, who will live with the impact of this attack for the rest of their lives.

“Our efforts to bring Hornea to justice would not have been possible without considerable support from the Romanian authorities, who have been a huge help in getting this dangerous offender off the streets.

“Everyone at Bedfordshire Police is committed to playing our part in ending violence against women and girls. Anyone perpetrating this violence and abuse should be under no illusion that we will investigate these crimes, as well as supporting victims however we can.”

Signpost for Bedfordshire is the support service for all victims of crime in the county, regardless of whether the incident has been reported to the police.

For more information about their services please visit the Signpost for Bedfordshire website.

To report anything to us you can visit the online reporting centre on our website or call 101.

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