Northamptonshire pensioner Karoly Varga was unlawfully killed, his inquest has heard.
Mr Varga died in 2011 after he was struck repeatedly in the head with an ‘axe-like’ weapon.
Police concluded at the time that Mr Varga, who was 76 when he died at his home in Cannon Street in Wellingborough, 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, known as ‘Charlie’, was well known in the community, especially for the support and advice he gave other Hungarian nationals.
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.
Elemer Patakfalvi, 47, was charged with Mr Varga’s murder and in April 2012 appeared in court after forensic evidence suggested he was the last person in Mr Varga’s house before his death.
Mr Patakfalvi, who always denied the charge, was released after a Crown Prosectution Service review of the case concluded that the prospect of a conviction was unlikely.
Mr Patakfalvi travelled to the UK from his home country of Hungary to give evidence at the inquest today.
With the help of an interpreter he said: “Charlie and I had a very close friendship, even though I had only known him for about four to six months.
“He visited me in hospital, to help me with translations.
“I would see him once or twice a week and he came to my birthday barbecue party.”
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 today 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.