Wellingborough pensioner Karoly Varga was ‘unlawfully killed’

Karoly Varga was unlawfully killed, his inquest has heard
Karoly Varga was unlawfully killed, his inquest has heard
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Wellingborough pensioner Karoly Varga was unlawfully killed, his inquest has heard.

Mr Varga, known as Charlie, died in 2011 after he was struck repeatedly in the head with an ‘axe-like’ weapon.

The inquest into Dorothy Marilyn Toseland's death was held in Kettering

The inquest into Dorothy Marilyn Toseland's death was held in Kettering

Police concluded at the time that Mr Varga, who was 76 when he died at his home in Cannon Street, had been murdered, but his killer has never been brought to justice.

At the inquest in Kettering this morning, it was confirmed that Mr Varga died from head injuries after being struck 14 times with “severe force” to the back of the head and neck with a “small axe or hatchet-like weapon” with a blade about 7cm long and 0.5cm wide.

Professor Guy Rutty, pathologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, confirmed that Mr Vargas died of the head injuries caused by the assault and said he could have died up to three days before his body was found by his daughter, Rita Groves, shortly before midday on July 30, 2011.

The Hungarian pensioner was well known in the community, especially for the support and advice he gave other Hungarian nationals.

Tributes laid at the home of Karoly Varga after his murder

Tributes laid at the home of Karoly Varga after his murder

He moved to the UK 50 years ago and worked as a property buyer and developer, and often offered lodgings to foreign nationals who needed help.

The court also heard evidence from Elemer Patakfalvi, the man who was arrested and charged with murder in 2011, but later acquitted when the case against him was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Rita Groves, Mr Varga’s daughter, was given the opportunity to ask Mr Patakfalvi questions about his relationship with her father and other evidence relating to the murder.

She questioned Mr Patakfalvi about the accounts he had given the police and evidence that had been collected in the case.

Mrs Pember, on several occasions, reminded him that he did not have to answer any questions which may incriminate him.

Rita asked him if he could explain why police had found his fingerprint on the door handle of the locked back door of the house.

He said: “I was told the fingerprint was on the outside. I would like to stop the questions now.”

He was asked about some Lonsdale trainers that he owned and whether he could say where they were and if he had thrown them away.

He answered: “I never throw shoes away. The police took all the shoes.”

Towards the end of the inquest, Rita asked: “Did you kill my father?”

He answered: “I have never done anything like that.”

She also asked about a letter that he had wanted help translating.

She asked: “This letter that you never showed my father, can you explain why it has my father’s blood on it?”

He answered: “I don’t know.”

During the inquest Mr Patakfalvi said: “All I can say is I never hurt him.”

Mr Patakfalvi travelled to the UK from his home country of Hungary to give evidence at the inquest today.

During a police interview at the time of his arrest in 2011, Mr Patakfalvis said he last saw Mr Varga on July 26, the day before his death, but at the inquest said he no longer remembers the date exactly.

In a statement by Toni-Marie Moore, fingerprint expert at the Northamptonshire Police forensics department, she said: “I have no doubt that the fingerprint ridges found on the door handle match those of Mr Patakfalvis as their clarity suggests they are recent, and there were no other visible prints on top.

“However, I cannot say with certainty that he was necessarily the last person to touch the handle.”

PC Carl Darnell, who attended the scene after Mr Varga’s body was found, said that all the curtains in the house were drawn and he had to gain entry through an upstairs window as Mrs Groves’ keys could not open the door to the house.

He said: “The body appeared to have been there for some time and it did not seem at all unsuspicious.”

Speaking at the inquest, Mrs Groves said: “We were very close. He would often ring me if he needed any help with writing English and he would always visit if he was passing.”

Rachel Dunkley, Mr Varga’s former neighbour, added in her statement: “He was a lovely, friendly, polite man.

“He often brought chocolates for my children when he went on trips abroad.”

Coroner Ann Pember recorded a verdict of unlawfully killing.

Police are still appealing for information that could help catch the killer

A year after Karoly Varga’s death, his family launched an appeal offering a £10,000 reward for anyone who could come forward with information that would help find his killer.

Police released CCTV footage showing a man entering the home of Mr Varga on July 27, 2011, the date it is believed Mr Varga was killed.

Appealing to the public for information at the time, Det Chief Insp Martin Kinchin said: “We also know that Charlie’s killer left via his back gate into Bell Street and Bell Court.

“That person had with them a small, potentially axe-like weapon and would have potentially been lightly blood stained.

“That murder weapon has never been recovered and potentially is still lying wherever it was hidden.”

It also believed that the killer was wearing Lonsdale shoes, sized seven or eight.

Anybody with information is urged to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.