Police hunt violent attacker who left Leeds victim in a coma after savage attack

Alfz Baronins.
Alfz Baronins.

A wanted violent criminal who left his victim for dead in a pool of blood after stamping repeatedly on his head and face in an unprovoked savage attack has been given a 20-year sentence.

Robert Tuck, 31, was left in a coma and suffered life-changing injuries following the brutal assault by Alfz Baronins.

The Latvian national was handed the sentence despite still being on the run since he was released on bail after being charged with the attack.

He is still being hunted by police.

Baronins was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent after a trial was held in his absence at Leeds Crown Court.

The court heard Baronins is also wanted in relation to another alleged violent attack carried out in similar circumstances.

Mr Tuck, a former schools cross country champion, has been unable to return to his work with the NHS since the attack.

His jaw was left smashed ‘like a jigsaw puzzle’ at the flat in the Beeston area of Leeds.

He underwent life-saving surgery after his head doubled in size from the swelling to his brain.

He has been left with extensive neurological problems which has affected his speech and ability to write. He is unable to use his arm and is likely to have to walk with the aid of a stick for the rest of his life.

Mr Tuck was attacked in the early hours of April 26, 2013, after being invited back to the home Baronins shared with two other men who had befriended him during a night out in Leeds city centre.

Mr Tuck was planning a trip to Riga to celebrate his 30th birthday around the time of the attack and began talking to Baronins and the other two men about Latvia.

Baronins suddenly turned violent after they returned to the house on Dewsbury Road.

Recorder Andrew Kershaw said Baronins would have to serve a minimum of ten years in prison followed by an extended licence period of ten years.

He said: “One has an unpleasant vision of a man in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor with his life heading towards an early end.”

Baronins has been at large since he disappeared shortly before he was due to go on trial for the attack in July last year.

Detective Inspector Ian Lawrence, of Leeds District CID, said: “This was a completely unprovoked and appallingly violent attack in which the victim received very serious life-changing injuries.

“It shows that Baronins is clearly someone who is capable of inflicting extreme violence and we urgently need to trace him so he can be brought to justice and serve the significant sentence which the court has handed down in his absence.

“We are continuing to conduct extensive enquiries to identify his current whereabouts and would like to hear from anyone who knows where he is. He has previously lived in Manchester and Birmingham but could be anywhere in the country. He had been working as a furniture maker in Leeds and is likely to be doing some form of manual labour.”

He is Latvian national and is described as white, about 5ft 11ins tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Detective Constable Richard Hulme at Elland Road via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sports science graduate Mr Tuck was battling back from the affects of a brain tumour at the time he was brutally attacked.

Mr Tuck, from Garforth, was left with weakened limbs following surgery for the condition after he was diagnosed in 2005.

It was a major set-back for the sports and fitness fan who excelled at running and was a member of Leeds City Athletic Club.

For years he had worked on re-building his strength and was on the verge of running his first half marathon when he was assaulted by Baronins.

As a result of the attack he is unable to walk properly. His arm is now “redundant” and has been permanently fitted with a brace.

He is unable to dress himself properly and even taking a shower leaves him exhausted.

He said: “It is the simple everyday things that I now cannot do that causes me the most problems.

“When I go out for a meal I have to ask someone to cut my food up for me so I can chew it properly. I feel embarrassed and as if people are judging me. What I am now like is probably what I am going to be like for the rest of my life.”

He added: “I also feel like my chance of ever having children has now gone.”

Mr Tuck also loved his NHS job working with overweight children. He has just returned to work part time with extensive support from his colleagues and Access to Work.

He added: “I am a proud man and like to pay my own way and don’t like living on hand outs. But there are no guarantees that I will be able to do my job again.”

Recalling the night of the incident he said: “I got chatting with the three of them by coincidence as I had just paid to go to Riga with my friends and they were Latvian guys.

“They seemed nice and friendly and invited me for a drink. The only thing I really remember is going into the house and talking to them as they were sat at a table.”

He added: “I don’t think he should ever have been allowed out on bail for what he did and just hope he is caught to face justice.”

Mr Tuck’s father, Glyn, added: “We are pleased with the sentence but I don’t ever feel like justice will really be done because even if they do catch him and lock him up, Robert will have to live with what this man did for the rest of his life.”

Mum Karen said: “Robert was such a proud independent person before this happened and it is tough for him to have to rely on help from his friends and family.

“But he has been brave enough to fight back from the disabilities he suffered from a brain tumour. If anyone can battle back from this, he can.”