A builder went rampaging on a rampaging revenge spree, demolishing five newly built houses after not getting paid.
31-year-old Daniel Neagu was placed in custody after causing an estimated £4 million worth of damage, last Saturday (August 11). He is set to appear before a crown court at Hatfield Magistrates Court via video link from HMP Stevenage after taking a no plea deal.
Mr Neagu’s lawyer has claimed the prosecution’s ‘very primitive’ estimation of the destroyed houses have been ‘egged up’ as attempts to get the grounds and heavy machinery construction worker released on bail.
Nothing is more irksome than doing hard graft, only to find out you’re not getting paid for it. In that sense Neagu’s over the top reaction is understandable. However, on the other side of the argument, his solution to the problem was foolish and ineffective
What made him think tearing down those houses would result in him getting paid? Maybe he was past the point of caring, the money didn’t even matter anymore, all he had left was his principles. Not to justify ripping anyone’s house apart.
Whatever his train of thought may have been, what we do know is he tore down newly built houses in Buntingford, Hertfordshire, with a digger.
67-year-old William Griffiths, a former bricklayer and local resident in the area, witnessed Neagu’s path of destruction first hand. He said:
He got out of the digger and I thought, ‘Great, he’s stopped’. But he got back to carry on. He seemed happy.
When police took him away in cuffs he caused no trouble.
Elaine Francois, aged 61, was the one who called the police. She said:
It looks like an earthquake or bomb struck.
The man was laughing and taking photos of the damage.
When police got here he told them he wasn’t paid and that’s why he did it. He was totally calm.
A fellow builder, who had been involved in the construction, said he was ‘angry’ after going to see the damage because he did not know what he would do for work.
East Herts Rural Police shared pictures of the wreckage with bricks, walls and window frames collapsed after the demolition work.
Writing on Twitter, they said:
We have had lots of interest about yesterday’s incident in Buntingford. The offender is still in custody whilst enquiries continue.
More details will be released in due course by our Corp Comms department.
Prosecutor Elaine McMillan told the court today:
The allegation is that the defendant has taken a digger, has gone on to a housing development site and has used the digger to damage five new build houses of estimated value between £4m.
The background to this is that the defendant and some co-workers had been working on the building site and they have been sacked.
They have left the site with a company vehicle and are told that any wages owed will be put on hold until the vehicle was returned.
Sohail Bashir, defending Neagu, said:
It’s right that this defendant has become disgruntled with his former employers relating to non-payment of wages.
The suggestion that the company vehicle has been taken without the owners’ permission is not accepted. Whilst I can see that the charge is a serious one, I’ve a significant concern that the evaluation by the Crown has been egged up to make the charge more serious.
What you have is a very primitive statement from the supervisor at the site who says the value of each of the houses, of the bungalows, would be an amount, multiply that by five gives you a value of £4m.
The suggestion of £4m in reality, when you look at the facts is not going to stand up to what’s happened. That loss would be significantly lower to what the charge is at the moment.
He has very strong community ties to the Harrow area. He lives in a fixed and stable address, his father lives nearby to him in Stanmore.
£4 million or not, that’s not something you’d want to come home to see.
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