24 Hours in Police Custody: Bogus delivery driver beats up three women

Shocking footage man who posed as an Amazon deliver attacking three women in their home is shown as detective investigates the case on 24 Hours In Police Custody

  • Bogus delivery driver rings the doorbell of a house in the suburbs of Luton
  • When door is answered he begins brutal assault on three women who are alone
  • Victims, a Chinese family who don’t want to be named, shared the video online 
  • DI admitted posting footage of attack made their job more challenging

The police detective who was investigating footage of a bogus delivery driver who brutally beat up three women inside their own home before fleeing has revealed his job was made more challenging after one of the victims posted the clip online. 

In tonight’s episode of Channel 4’s 24 Hours in Police Custody, Romanian Sandel Hornea, 36, who poses as a delivery driver is seen ringing the doorbell of a house in the leafy suburbs of Luton.  

As the door is answered he immediately begins a shockingly brutal assault on three women – a 14-year-old girl, her aunt and elderly grandmother – who are alone in the house. Remarkably, the attack is captured on camera on the property’s CCTV. 

Hornea, who had served a nine-year jail term in Italy for sex trafficking, launched the brutal assault after slipping into the UK in 2019 when Britain was still observing freedom of movement rules before Brexit. 

The father of the youngest victim, a Chinese family who are not named, posted the video online in an attempt to track down the attacker – and offered a £20,000 reward information on the suspect.  

As one detective discovers ‘they’ve literally put footage of the whole CCTV up,’ DCI Tom Hamm tells the camera: ‘Policing is about holding your cards close to your chest and not giving away what you’ve got. Unfortunately, in this case, by putting the CCTV images all over social media, he’s now become a massive flight risk.’

Sandel Hornea (pictured, on CCTV footage), 36, from Romania, launched a brutal assault after slipping into the UK in 2019 when Britain was still observing freedom of movement rules before Brexit

In the harrowing footage which will air tonight, the suspect can be seen knocking the distressed and screaming gran to the floor and dragging her into the kitchen, resulting in her suffering a bleed to the brain.

Then, her granddaughter is violently punched in the face and dragged screaming across the floor, before being punched away when yelling for help, leading to a fractured eye socket. 

The driver then lies in wait for the third woman as she comes down the stairs and brutally attacks her, punching her five times before fleeing.

‘He didn’t take anything of real value,’ notes detective Tom. ‘But it does look like he took what he thought was maybe the hard drive for the CCTV.’

As the victims are taken to hospital the case is handed to Detective Inspector Tom Hamm of Bedfordshire’s Criminal Investigation Team, who begins an urgent manhunt. 

Cameras follow every twist of the hunt after it becomes clear the suspect is now hiding abroad after fleeing to Romania.  

The delivery driver beat two women, dragging them into their kitchen at their home in Luton

DCI Tom Hamm (pictured) explains that policing is about ‘holding your cards close to your chest and not giving away what you’ve got’

‘There’s a part of this case that we’re never gonna get to the bottom of. Maybe he will shed light on it when he’s finally caught up with. But as it stands I don’t really know why that home was targeted.’

But when initial police enquiries draw a blank, a member of the victim’s family posts the CCTV images of the assault on Facebook and offers a reward of £20,000.

The post goes viral and the story is picked up by newspapers and broadcasters across the UK and internationally. 

The video, shared on Facebook, was captioned: ‘This person has not been caught yet. He is on the run now. ‘Please please help me. Share this post in Great Britain even international so this person can be recognised or be seen and get caught.

‘Please, please help me. Share this please. My daughter may lose her eye and my mum is going to have head surgery. So please please help me share this post and get this person please. This happened on Monday in Bedfordshire.’

Posted alongside the video was a picture of a young woman with heavy bruising around her eye.

He then waited for the third woman to come down the stairs before brutally attacking her, punching her repeatedly in the face 

 DCI Tom Hamm notes the suspect didn’t take anything of real value but did take what he thought was maybe the hard drive for the CCTV (pictured, fleeing the scene’ 

Police soon discovered Sandel Hornea (pictured) had served a nine-year jail term in Italy for sex trafficking

Bedfordshire police learned Hornea had several convictions in Romania, Hungary and Italy for sex trafficking. Pictured, DCI Tom Hamm

The police are now in a race to apprehend the suspect, fearing that the publicity will mean he will go to ground. 

The £20,000 reward and the discovery of his fingerprints on the fake Amazon parcel lead to his capture by Romanian police and return to the UK in March.

Bedfordshire police soon learned Hornea had several convictions in Romania, Hungary and Italy for sex trafficking.

Detective Inspector Tom Hamm adds: ‘How can someone who did a nine-year stretch be allowed to come here?’

Hornea pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to wounding, GBH, ABH, robbery, theft and burglary and is due to be sentenced in a few weeks. 

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