Warrant issued after guilty man flees to Bulgaria

Wednesday 15th June 2022 8:00 am
Court report
In court. (MDA )

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A JUDGE has ordered the arrest of a Bulgarian fugitive after he was found guilty of an unprovoked attack on a dog walker.

Velichko Vankov acted ‘like a whirling dervish’ during the unprovoked attack on the victim, who happened to walk past a street brawl in which men and women were wielding scaffolding poles as weapons.

The dog walker was knocked unconscious as he tried to calm the situation, which had already resulted in his wife being barged to the ground.

The victim was trying to persuade Vankov’s wife to put down a pole she was carrying when he was headbutted and then kicked, leaving him with concussion and a broken rib.

Former hotel worker Vankov, aged 45, of Grange Close, Newton Abbot, denied assault causing actual bodily harm but was found guilty in his absence by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Timothy Rose did not tell the jury the reason for Vankov’s absence until after they reached their verdict but then told them that the defendant had fled the country.

He said Vankov is thought to be in Bulgaria. He confirmed the issuing of a warrant for his arrest but decided not to sentence him in his absence.

After seeing CCTV of the incident, he commented: ‘He was running around like a whirling dervish. A bit later, he shot off and shot back again. He had absolutely lost it.’

During the one-day trial, Miss Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said the victim and his wife were walking their dog near Paignton seafront at 8pm on July 12, 2020, when they were halted by a large group of people brawling in Garfield Road.

The fight spilled across the road and one of those involved blundered into the walker’s wife, knocking her over and leading her to spill the contents of her handbag, but not causing any injury.

The couple had just sorted themselves out when the fight re-started with Vankov and his wife both returning to the scene with metal scaffolding poles.

The dog walker was trying to disarm Mrs Vankov when CCTV showed Vankov dropping the pole he was carrying and running 20 metres and flattening him with a head butt, which knocked him cold.

He ran off but then returned again to aim a kick at him before rejoining the melee.

Vankov told police he mistook the victim for one of the other brawlers and that he was acting in self defence or trying to protect his wife.

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