Slovakia: Romani man decapitated while still alive

Slovakia has been shaken by the brutal murder of 37-year-old Daniel Horváth, a Romani man who was decapitated while still alive, according to a court autopsy. Last Friday police charged three men aged 17, 18 and 39 with Horvath’s murder. „The suspects face between 20 and 25 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison,“ said Nitra police spokesperson Renáta Čuháková.

The murder took place a week ago in the village of Žihárec. The headless body was found several days later near the village of Šoporňa (Galanta district).

Horvath’s relatives began looking for him two days before Christmas because he had not yet returned home for the holidays. „We went to ask whether they hadn‘t locked him into the bar where he‘d been, to see if he was sleeping there, but all that was found there was his t-shirt. Ever since then we‘ve just been looking for him everywhere,“ a relative said.

The family gradually found out what is alleged to have taken place. „They kicked him around before the massacre. I heard they took him back to their home in a wheelbarrow,“ the relative said.

According to the available information, Daniel got into a conflict with three men in a local pub. After beating him up, the men put him in a wheelbarrow and brought him to the nearby home of the pub owner, where they allegedly decapitated him while he was still alive. The murderers then transported his body to Šoporňa and threw him into the cesspool behind the village. His head was found there as well.

Daniel is survived by his common-law wife and their five-year-old daughter. In the village where the cruel murder took place, the atmosphere is tense and police officers are on 24-hour patrol. Relatives of the arrested suspects fear Daniel’s family will take revenge on them.

František Tanko, chair of the Romani Union Party in Slovakia (Strana romské unie na Slovensku) expressed his sincere condolences to the victim’s family. „Dear friends, we can see that the hatred on the part of whites against us Romani people is increasing. We sharply condemn this crime and we express our condolences to the family of the deceased,“ Tanko wrote in a statement published on the Facebook profile of the Romani newspaper Romano nevo ľil. Tanka also said Horváth had been a party member.

The men charged are the owner of the local bar (aged 39), who is also a trained butcher, his 17-year-old son, and his son’s 18-year-old friend. „The detective has initiated criminal proceedings in the matter of this particularly serious murder,“ the police spokesperson said.

No one knows yet why the trio murdered Daniel in such a brutal way. The father of the 18-year-old suspect told journalists his son had been home throughout the entire Christmas holiday and behaved as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. „Neither I nor my wife observed anything different about him at all,“ the father admitted.

According to the Joj television station, the 39-year-old suspect is a professional butcher who has broken the law before. He is said to have once shot and seriously injured an adult female victim.

Date: 01.01.2013