One-punch killer threw his arms up in ‘victory pose’ after fatal blow

One-punch killer threw his arms up in ‘victory pose’ after fatal blow


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One-punch killer Alin Zaharia

Zaharia spent his trial pleading self-defense (Picture: Essex Live/BPM Media)

A gloating thug pulled a ‘victory pose’ after killing a ‘quiet loner’ with one blow – before telling a 999 operator he found his bloodied victim sleeping on the street.

Alin Zaharia, 27, fatally punched harmless 40-year-old Gary Clark in front of his pals on Southend Road in Grays, Essex, on November 30, 2020.

He threw up his arms in ‘victory’ but then asked friends ‘What have we done?’ and around midnight made a frantic 999 call.

Zaharia – said in court to have moved to the UK from Romania to ‘better his life’ – told an operator he’d come across Gary, who suffered a fractured skull in his fall from the deadly punch, lying on the pavement.

Sentencing Zaharia today to five-and-a-half years behind bars, Judge Samantha Leigh told him as he struggled not to cry: ‘This is a tragic case of a one-punch manslaughter.

‘Gary Clark was 40 years old at the time of his death, a son who was deeply loved… he was sat outside his local shops, as he would often do, sipping a can of drink.

He was clearly a loner who would mind his own business. He was a quiet person and didn’t cause any difficulty at all.’

She continued: ‘Without warning you step into him and you punch him in the face. You maintained to the jury that you pushed Mr. Clark.

Alin Zaharia was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court

The killer was condemned for attacking harmless Gary Clark at Basildon Crown Court (Picture: PA)

‘That has rightly been rejected. You said that he was aggressive and swearing at you just before your hitting. I find it as fact that Mr. Clark was not doing any of those things whatsoever.

‘You return to your group behind you with your arms out as in some form of victory gesture.’

Basildon Crown Court was told Gary was minding his own business with a group of friends when Zaharia and his group arrived.

Words were exchanged between pals of the pair before the killer was captured on CCTV conversing with someone in a white car on the road – before he collapsed on the ground in a fit of laughter.

He then approached Gary while other men were rowing and punched him in the face despite him posing no apparent threat.

Gary, from Grays, tumbled back and smacked his head on the concrete so hard he suffered a skull fracture, before he was later killed by a severe brain injury.

Essex Police officers arrived at the scene around 1.40am and found blood on the road.

After contacting Zaharia to see what happened he was arrested at his home on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Zaharia, of Lenmore Avenue in Grays – who claimed throughout his trial he acted in self-defense – later had the charge changed to manslaughter.

A jury today found him guilty, with Judge Leigh adding the footage of Zaharia collapsing was ‘highly suspicious’.

She suspected he may have consumed drugs but this was not proven and did not form part of the criminal charges.

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One-punch killer threw his arms up in 'victory pose' after fatal blow

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