Bala: Branislav Gula killing - Julius Hecko jailed 10 years

Branislav Gula Branislav Gula was a 'peaceful, caring man' said his family

Related Stories

A drunken Slovak who punched and stamped on a fellow countryman has been jailed for 10 years for manslaughter.

Julius Hecko, 23, attacked Branislav Gula, a keen musician who spoke 14 languages, at a flat in Bala in Gwynedd in November.

The bakery worker was cleared of murder but convicted of killing the 42-year-old by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

The judge said it had been a brutal and sustained attack of "utmost ferocity".

Two men and a teenage girl have also been convicted of charges connected to the killing.

Start Quote

This has been a sad chapter in our lives, something that we have all struggled to come to terms with ”

End Quote Milan and Peter Gula Branislav Gula's brothers

The six week trial heard that Mr Gula died from severe head injuries at his flat, where blood stains had been found on a radiator and a wall.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Hecko that there had been at least eight stamps to the head and neck in a "brutal and sustained" attack "of utmost ferocity".

"The violence began when for absolutely no lawful justification you punched him in the nose as he was sitting peacefully in his chair," he said.

Defence QC Gregory Bull said Hecko came to Britain in August and wanted to return to Slovakia as soon as possible.

He had been drinking more in Bala because of "enormous emotional strain", the court was told.

Branislav Gula and family Mr Gula's family said they had struggled to come to terms with his death

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Gula's two brothers, Milan and Peter said: "This has been a sad chapter in our lives, something that we have all struggled to come to terms with and we will never forget the fond memories."

His family described him as a talented musician, who could play the guitar, piano, drums and harmonica.

He had travelled extensively across the world, and could speak 14 different languages.

His family said he was a "peaceful, caring man, never violent".

'Rare crime'

Richard Vanstone, 44, from Blaenau Ffestiniog, had denied assisting an offender and Mark Roberts, 37, of Dolgellau, denied perverting justice. Jodie Jackson, 18, from Corwen, was convicted of assisting an offender.

Start Quote

I must emphasise that crimes of this nature are rare, particularly in rural communities like Bala”

End Quote Det Insp Andrew Williams North Wales Police

Vanstone has been handed an 18-month prison term, while Jackson was given eight months youth custody. Roberts was given a 12-month sentence.

Det Insp Andrew Williams said: "This tragic death took place at a time of significant demands upon North Wales Police as an organisation as a result of a number of major incidents during autumn 2012.

"I must emphasise that crimes of this nature are rare, particularly in rural communities like Bala. This investigation was very demanding and I'd like to thank all members of the public who assisted, particularly those from the Slovakian community, who showed great understanding and support.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Branislav Gula."

Stryd Plassey Police tape near the scene of the killing in Bala in November 2012

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Wales stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • Kinetic sculpture violinClick Watch

    The "kinetic sculpture" that can replicate digital files and play them on a violin

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.