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Life in prison for two Romanian gangsters after killed an alleged co-national drug lord in Ilford, London

A group of three men who ambushed and brutally beat a man to death with garden shears and pick axe handles in a revenge attack have been jailed.

The men were found guilty at the Old Bailey on Monday, 7 January of killing 36-year-old Sandel Serbu, according to London Met Police.

Fears of Romanian gang warfare spilling onto British streets when an alleged leading gangster was beaten to death by baseball-wielding thugs, wrote Daily Express few days after the murder.

„It has been claimed Serbu, a body builder, made his fortune in drugs and prostitution in Western Europe before moving onto Italy and then the UK.”

„The vice trade in Ilford and neighbouring Redbridge is so heavily dominated by Romanian and Albanian gangsters, police from Romania have been brought in to help tackle the gangs.”

Razvan Vladescu, 27, (centre), and his brother Araman-Nardi Stoica, 25 (left), both of no fixed address, were found guilty of murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

The third man, Ionut Vasile, 28 (06.03.90), of South Park Road, Ilford, was convicted of manslaughter.

They were sentenced at the same court on Friday, 15 February to the following.

Vladescu was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 26 years for murder, and 18 months’ imprisonment for possession of an offensive weapon, to run concurrently.

Stoica was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 23 years for murder, and 18 months’ imprisonment for possession of an offensive weapon, to run concurrently.

Vasile was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.

At 02:48hrs on 12 November 2017, police were called by the London Ambulance Service to reports of a fight and an injured man in High Road, near the junction with Connaught Road in Ilford.

Officers attended and found 36-year-old Sandel Previous Serbu, a Romanian national who had recently moved to the UK and lived in Barking, suffering from serious injuries.

He was taken by ambulance to an east London hospital, where he died at 04:35hrs that morning.

A post-mortem examination held at East Ham Mortuary gave the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

Sandel, (photo) also known by the nicknames ‘Sorin’ and ‘Braileanu’, was at a friend’s house on the evening of 11 November 2017 socialising and playing video games.

At about 00:30hrs on 12 November 2017, Sandel decided he wanted to go to a nightclub on High Road in Ilford, and he got a lift with a couple who were also at the house.

The couple stayed in the car and Sandel got out and spoke to a man outside the nightclub. Two or three other males then came over and the group had a non-confrontational conversation.

Sandel and the couple then decided to make their way home via a shop on High Road and a nearby petrol station because Sandel wanted to buy some whiskey and needed to top-up his mobile phone.

They then went back to the shop in High Road to buy cigarettes. As Sandel got out of the car, he was approached by a group of men who were armed with weapons including pick axe handles and garden shears.

Sandel had been kept under surveillance by the group and followed by three cars. The suspects launched their ferocious attack once they deemed him vulnerable.

The group started attacking Sandel by repeatedly hitting him full-force in the head with their weapons. Sandel’s friend got out of the car in a bid to help him, but he was threatened by one of the suspects who said ‘I will kill you if you move. Stay out of it.’

Sandel managed to run away from his attackers but he soon fell to the ground and the group of three people continued to attack him.

An ambulance was driving along High Road when the two LAS crew members saw the victim being attacked, they activated the siren and blue lights and eventually the suspects fled on foot and in a black 4×4 BMW belonging to Vasile.

The paramedics then rushed to Sandel’s aid and transported him to an east London hospital where he sadly died despite the best efforts of medical staff.

Detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command immediately began investigating and carried out a number of enquiries such as extensive CCTV analysis, looking into vehicles of interest at the scene including the black BMW, forensic work, following-up on information provided by members of the public and examining items found at the scene, including a phone which belonged to Vladescu.

Officers also found discarded weapons near the scene including a pick-axe handle and half a set of long armed garden shears, which was effectively a metal pole with a metal spike protruding from the end.

Enquiries led to the arrest of Vasile (owner of the black BMW) on 20 November 2017.

Following a media appeal, Vladescu handed himself in to police on 23 February 2018.

Stocia failed to hand himself in, but officers believed he was hiding at an address in Oldham.

Detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command executed a warrant on 24 April 2018 and Stoica was arrested.

The court heard that a possible motivation for the brutal attack was revenge for a fight that took place two months earlier.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Considine, who led the investigation, said: “Sandel was popping into a shop when he was ambushed by a group of men armed with weapons who brutally beat him to death.

Sandel was defenceless and had no way to protect himself. He managed to momentarily escape but soon fell to the ground and was once again savagely attacked. His attackers then left him dying in the street as they casually walked off.

“This was a complex and rigorous investigation. I would especially like to thank the members of public who came to us with vital information about the incident as well as the two LAS paramedics who bravely intervened by trying to stop the attack and save Sandel’s life.

“Sandel’s family have been left devastated by his death, but I hope today’s sentencing gives them a small measure of comfort and closure.”

Florin Ivan, 31 (20.01.88), of Bowman Avenue, E16, was found not guilty of manslaughter and Ionut Bogdan Cucu, 25 (24.10.93) was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.