A VIOLENT criminal who went on the run after leaving his victim for dead in a pool of blood in an unprovoked attack has been caught and jailed.
Alfz Baronins had been at large since being released on bail over a brutal assault on 31-year-old Robert Tuck which left him with life-changing injuries.
The Latvian national was arrested on Friday after a member of the public saw an appeal in the Yorkshire Evening Post to help catch Baronins.
Baronins was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent after a trial was held in his absence at Leeds Crown Court in February this year.
He was given a minimum ten year prison sentence, to be followed by an extended period on licence of ten years.
Mr Tuck, a former schools cross country champion, had his jaw 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.
It was feared Baronins may have fled the UK or was living in another part of the country.
But officers from West Yorkshire Police arrested him in a betting shop on Friday in the Harehills area of the city.
Detective Inspector Ian Lawrence, of Leeds District CID, said: “Baronins was arrested as a direct result of information from a member of the public who had seen our appeal to trace him in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“We are very grateful to that person for their public-spiritedness and to the media for their assistance in publicising the appeal that has seen him finally brought to justice.
“He was responsible for a completely unprovoked and appallingly violent attack which left the victim with very serious life-changing injuries.
“We hope the fact he has now been caught and is starting a lengthy period in prison will provide some reassurance to the victim, his family and to the wider community.”
Mr Tuck and his family said they were pleaded Baronins had been caught and would face justice.
Mum Karen said: “We were buzzing when we heard the news but we are still upset that he was allowed bail in the first place.
“We feel as though we have lost out on something because we did not get the chance to see him in court and face a trial.”
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.
After the trial Recorder Andrew Kershaw 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 had been at large since he disappeared shortly before he was due to go on trial for the attack in July last year.
The YEP reported last month how 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.”