Homophobic killer who savagely beat ‘gentle soul’ to death jailed for life

A homophobic killer who savagely beat a “gentle soul” carer to death in Wolverhampton has been jailed for life. 

Vitalie Tanga, 40, of Clifford Street, Wolverhampton, was given a life sentence last week (3 May) and ordered to serve at least 25 years behind bars after being found guilty of murder and assault assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing. 

Victim Alfred Mattox, 56, was discovered with severe head and face injuries at his home in Merridale, Wolverhampton, on 10 May 2021 and died two weeks later in hospital.

The crime “arose from what was a vodka-fuelled rage involving [Tanga] repeatedly kicking [Mattox] to the head, causing extensive fractures and brain damage from which he died”, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

According to West Midland’s police, Tanga claimed Mattox had made a pass at him at a party. 

But judge Michael Chambers said: “I’m satisfied so [as] to be sure that this violent assault went far beyond simply a reaction to a sexual advance. This case was opened to the jury on the basis that it was caused and motivated by hostility to Mr Mattox’s sexual orientation and the evidence is consistent with that.” 

Neighbours had alerted police to a commotion inside Mattox’s flat. His lodger, who was assaulted, made a full recovery. 

A post-mortem found Mattox had suffered multiple fractures to his face, brain injury and multiple organ failure likely to have been caused by kicking or being heavily punched with a weapon. 

Detective inspector Ade George, from the Homicide Unit at West Midlands Police, said: “At no point has Tanga taken any accountability for the violent attack on Mr Mattox and his friend. Instead, he has put the family of Mr Mattox through the pain of having to sit through a trial. 
“It is clear Tanga had a problem with Mr Mattox’s sexuality so much so that he violently attacked him, causing injuries that proved fatal.”

Mattox’s family released a statement in which they said were “still in shock, adding: “Alfie was a gentle soul who would never get into a fight with anyone. He was kind, caring, loving and a respectful man who did not deserve to be taken from his family and friends in such a cruel way. 

“We will never understand why anyone would want to hurt Alfie.”

They thanked the police for ensuring “justice has been done”. 

The court heard that Tanga had previous convictions for violence and had experienced a psychotic condition, possibly paranoid schizophrenia, for a number of years, the Daily Mail reported.

Tanga had denied both charges at an early hearing, with prosecutor Andrew Wallace telling the court that killing was aggravated by Tanga’s “hostility” to his victim’s sexual orientation.

Defending, Amjad Malik said his client was not homophobic and had known Mattox for a number of years and there had been no previous problems.

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