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Pair convicted after killing man in drunken arson attack on makeshift camp

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Two men have been convicted after killing a man living by the side of the road by dowsing his makeshift camp in petrol and setting it on fire.

Ionut Manea, 38, was living in a wooden hut beside the A406 in Ilford, east London when Ionel-Octavian Stanciu, 37, and Petra Deliu, 52, carried out the arson attack, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Manea, who had travelled to the UK from Romania in search of a better life, was taken to hospital with burns that covered almost 100% of his body, but died shortly afterwards.

Ionut Manea, 38, had travelled to the UK from Romania. Pic: Met Police
Image: Ionut Manea had travelled to the UK from Romania seeking a better life. Pic: Met Police

A second man also from Romania suffered severe burns and spent six weeks in a specialist unit before being flown back to be with his family.

Stanciu, of no fixed address, was found guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm with intent on Thursday following a trial.

Deliu, also of no fixed address, was convicted of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.

The trial was told the pair were drunk when they bought petrol from a nearby garage on 18 June 2019 and walked to the camp where they poured it over the hut and set it alight.

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Both victims were unable to escape before the flames took hold shortly before midnight.

Ionel-Octavian Sanciu. Pic: Met Police
Image: Ionel-Octavian Stanciu was found guilty of murder. Pic: Met Police
Petra Deliu. Pic: Met Police
Image: Petra Deliu was convicted of manslaughter. Pic: Met Police

The defendants were arrested close to the scene after police officers spotted them trying to flag down passing motorists.

It is still not clear why they carried out the attack.

Mr Manea’s next of kin was traced to Romania and he was officially identified by family DNA, police said.

Detective Sergeant Ian Valentine, from the Met’s specialist crime command, said: “This is a tragic case in which one man lost his life, and a second suffered horrendous burns.

“Ionut Manea came to this country to seek a better life but instead he found himself living in a makeshift camp on wasteland close to a busy road.

“He died in the most horrific circumstances after petrol was poured onto the campsite.”

Stanciu and Deliu will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday.