Man guilty of circus worker murder
PUBLISHED: 11:04 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010
A FORMER circus worker from Hungary was repeatedly stabbed by a man he thought was a friend in a frenzied attack in Essex before being dumped on the roadside in Radlett. Zoltan Keszey, aged 29, who had homes in both Radlett and Harlow, was discovered dead
A FORMER circus worker from Hungary was repeatedly stabbed by a man he thought was a friend in a frenzied attack in Essex before being dumped on the roadside in Radlett.
Zoltan Keszey, aged 29, who had homes in both Radlett and Harlow, was discovered dead in bushes along Shenley Hill on April 3 by a passing motorist.
He had been stabbed 31 times sustaining lung and stomach injuries as well as defensive cuts to the arms and legs as he tried to ward off the attack in Harlow on April 2, his murder trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard last week.
Roland Balasko, aged 27 of St Andrews Meadow, Harlow, was found guilty of the murder.
During the case the court heard how neighbours in the quiet area where the murder took place were disturbed by noise from the incident at about 12.30am and watched as the attack moved into their street.
It had begun over 50 yards away at the exit of a nearby churchyard.
Eye witness John Hawkins told the jury: "I saw two men fighting in the early hours having been woken up by the noise and one shouting desperately, 'somebody help me, please.'
After Balasko stabbed Mr Keszey he was seen bundling his body into his car before driving to Radlett where he dumped him.
The bloodstained Seat Toledo was eventually discovered in Watford, near to where Slovakian warehouse worker Balasko had previously lived. He later handed himself in to the police.
Balasko claimed in court that he had acted in self defence against Mr Keszey. He said he won thousands of pounds gambling on football matches, some of which he had loaned to Mr Keszey to buy a house.
On the evening of April 1, Balasko said that Mr Keszey visited his home and they drank beers while watching a film before going to a pub in Harlow.
Balasko, who lived with a Slovakian woman and her daughter, said he expected them to walk to their respective homes but Mr Keszey "detoured" and went along with him until they reached the churchyard near his home.
He said: "He was behind me, I turned around and saw the knife in his hand - in his right hand. He came at me and I just grabbed it. He said 'I will kill you' - more than once - in Hungarian and then we fell to the floor. I was under him."
Balasko continued: "I grabbed the knife and we were fighting again. I didn't know what I was doing - I cannot remember it now. He stood up and started to run to my house and said, 'I will kill your family and the bitch,' - I just completely lost control. I don't remember anything about the attack or kicking him."
He added: "In the morning, I realised when I was sitting in my car - I realised what happened."
After washing and changing clothes he received a phone call from Essex police and then handed himself in at Watford police station.
Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Ball QC ruled that Balasko should serve at least 19 years behind bars before he was even considered for parole.
He told him: "You embarked on an absolutely vicious and merciless attack.
"When he was pleading for help you stabbed him at least 31 times and when he was motionless and lifeless you unceremoniously bundled him into a car and dumped him.
He added: "You and you alone bear the terrible responsibility for the awful death you inflicted on Zoltan Keszey."
Judge Ball commended Patrick Webster, who lived near the scene of the killing and who had gone out to "intervene", and awarded him £200.
Following the conviction, Det Supt Simon Dinsdale said: "This was a vicious attack on a young man by a person known to him. They had been friends and this tragedy appears to have been the result of an argument that got fatally out of hand.
"Whatever the motive for this murder, nobody deserves to have their life taken in such a violent way and Balasko made attempts to cover his crime by driving his victim to Hertfordshire where his body was left."
He added: "Nothing will bring Zoltan's life back but I hope that today's verdict will offer some small consolation to his family that justice has been served.