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Sickening murder Dad-of-three kicked to death in Dublin laneway was just about to start new job

"Claudiu came here to work so he could build a better life for his three children, now our mother visits his grave every day"

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Claudiu Robu

Claudiu Robu

Claudiu Robu

The sister of a man who was kicked to death on the streets of Dublin by a 16-year-old thug reveals for the first time her family’s devastation at his sickening murder.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Loredana Robu, the sister of innocent murder victim Claudiu Robu, tells how:

● Their broken-hearted mother visits Claudiu’s grave in Romania every day;

●His death left three children without their father;

● Her 39-year-old brother had been just days away from starting a new job when his 16-year-old killer first mugged him and then returned to kill him.

Releasing the first picture of Claudiu, Loredana, who lives in Romania, spoke yesterday, just days after his killer was sentenced to life in prison, but with a review after eight years.

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Loredana tells of the pain of loss of her brother Claudiu

Loredana tells of the pain of loss of her brother Claudiu

Loredana tells of the pain of loss of her brother Claudiu

The now 17-year-old, who cannot be named as he is a minor, will come before the Central Criminal Court again in June 2028.

Then a judge will use probation and education reports and psychological assessments to decide if he can safely return to society.

“He (Claudiu) was a very good person,” Loredana said.

“He always helped when someone needed him. He had three children, a boy and two girls.

“We are still in a state of shock, since we brought him home and buried him.

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“Mother goes to his cemetery every day to pray.”

Speaking of her brother’s life in Ireland, Loredana said he came with his brother Emanuel to earn money to give his children a better life.

“He was working,” said Loredana, “but he was looking for another job and even before the tragedy he found a job where he was about to start.

“The children are here in Romania,” she said.

Claudiu’s dreams of building a better life came to an abrupt and shocking end on September 14th last year – when, at the boots of the twisted teenager; he was subjected to a horrific and merciless death.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the 16-year-old boy who kicked him to death had been a “powder keg waiting to explode” because of years of deprivation and abandonment in his home life.

The teenager was in the care of the State when he murdered Claudiu, just hours after he had assaulted him and stole his phone.

The court heard the youth had gone back to find Claudiu lying in a laneway off Madison Road, off the South Circular Road, in Dublin 8, where he earlier robbed him – and repeatedly kicked him and stamped on his head while watched by another youth.

The other boy reported the murder to gardaí and the teen was arrested and later pleaded guilty.

At the boy’s sentencing hearing, the court heard that Claudiu Robu died “a horrible and lonely death in a back lane”.

He had been staying with a friend, fell on hard times and had some difficulties with alcohol.

He had been drinking when he encountered the teenager, who took him down the laneway off Madison Road, assaulted him and took his phone before returning to his care home and telling another boy what he had done.

He asked the other boy to accompany him to the shop and then took him to the laneway, where the boy witnessed him stamping on Claudiu.

The youth said they returned to the care home where staff saw him wash his runners.

The other youth said he was sickened by what he had seen and ran out to a Garda station to report it.

He took gardaí to the scene, where they found Claudiu gasping for air.

He died at the scene as emergency services were treating him.

A post mortem showed he had died from severe blunt force trauma to his head. The injuries sustained were from a “high velocity” force often seen in road accidents.

After his arrest, the youth tried to blame the boy who reported the killing, telling gardaí he was “off his head”. He also said he was ‘p***ed off’ about being in care.

His father had died when he was young and his mother had left the country, leaving him to live with his step-father who had assaulted him, resulting in him being taken into care just months before the murder.

Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan read a letter from the boy, which read: “I feel guilty and this will stay with me for the rest of my life. If I could turn back time this would never have happened.

“My time in detention has given me a chance to look back over my behaviour and change.”

A probation report said the boy was incredulous that he could cause so much harm to another person that he had died from his injuries.

The dead man was intoxicated and not able to defend himself.

Judge Paul McDermott said that reports indicate the boy is at a high risk of violent reoffending.

He said the youth knew what he was doing when he kicked his victim to death, and it was “disturbing” that he assaulted his victim and then returned some hours later to continue the fatal attack.

There was “ferocity and intent in his actions.”

However, the judge noted that mitigating factors included the boy’s age, guilty plea and acceptance of moral responsibility.

The Central Criminal Court judge who reviews the case in 2028 will have the benefit of psychological assessments and probation and education reports that will be submitted to the court registrar every two years.

Addressing Claudiu’s family, Judge McDermott said the murder had “caused enormous damage and hurt and loss and that is something that cannot be appreciated fully, except by those who suffer as a consequence of this offence”.

He said the sentence will be of little comfort to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

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