Daniel Popescu jailed for attempted murder of pregnant ex-partner in Aberfan

A "jealous" man who stabbed his pregnant ex-partner after stalking her for weeks has been jailed for attempted murder - after a court heard how his victim was convinced he would kill her and her unborn child.

Daniel Mihai Popescu, of no fixed abode, previously pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Andreea Pintili in Aberfan, Merthyr Tydfil, last December.

Ms Pintilii was 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the attack.

The 29-year-old also pleaded guilty to stalking Ms Pintili between 25 October and 6 December 2023.

He was sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison and a further three years on licence as part of an extended sentence. He denied an additional charge of intimidating a witness.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard on Wednesday afternoon that Popescu had been in a relationship with Andreea Pintili since about September 2020.

The prosecution said Popescu then developed a "gambling habit" and the couple separated around the time of August 2023.

Prosecuting, John Hipkin said Popescu had become "obsessed" with Ms Pintili in the months before the attack.

In one incident, on 31 October, Popescu "left two bags of his clothing outside her address".

"He proceeded to leave her a voicemail saying, 'Don't touch my clothes, I'm not going from the street until you get back together with me'," Mr Hipkin said.

"He then repeatedly knocked her window. As a result of this, the defendant was arrested and released on bail, with a condition not to contact Andreea Pintili."

Victim 'tried to break free'

Ms Pintili then moved to the Aberfan area but Popescu found out.

At the time, he had been staying with a man called Stephen Phillips.

The prosecution said Mr Phillips had noted how Popescu had become "agitated and annoyed over a period of time" and that he had told him he was "going to stab his ex-girlfriend's new partner".

"On 5 December, the defendant travelled to Moy Road, Aberfan, where Andreea Pintili was then living," Mr Hipkin added.

"The defendant had armed himself with a knife from the address at which he was staying. The knife had a seven-to-eight-inch blade."

Local schools and nurseries were placed under a precautionary lockdown for several hours when Popescu attacked Ms Pintili on 5 December 2023.

Officers from South Wales Police were called shortly before 9.10am to reports of a woman having been stabbed in Moy Road.

Ms Pintili sustained three superficial injuries to her thumb and two penetrating wounds to her back.

Scans revealed that her unborn child's signs of life were normal and she was discharged from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff the following day.

The court was shown two pieces of footage, a 19-second clip which appeared to show Popescu crouching behind a vehicle with a knife in his hand, and another which showed the attack itself.

"The defendant told her that he had a knife and was going to kill her," Mr Hipkin told the court.

"She tried to break free but fell to the floor. The defendant then proceeded to stab her a number of times.

"Perhaps fortunately a woman named Kira Terrett was walking her dog nearby. She screamed and ran to try and help and with that the defendant then ran off."

'He wasn't going to stop until he killed me and my unborn child'

In a victim's statement read out in court on her behalf, Ms Pintili said she felt "lucky to be alive after this harrowing experience".

"I have no doubt that, had he got me into the house, he would have killed me. This was clearly his intention that day, to kill me and my unborn child," she added.

"He was very jealous and couldn't handle the fact we'd split up and I had no intention of ever getting back with him. He wasn't going to stop until he killed me."

She said the attack had left her feeling "very anxious when leaving the house" and that she had to "relive this day over and over".

In mitigation, Mr David Aubrey KC said Popescu entered a guilty plea and that he "desisted from the attack".

Mr Aubrey also told the court that Popescu suffers from "low mood and anxiety".

"He has expressed his remorse and regret, which is genuine," he added.

But, while mitigating, Mr Aubrey said he did not seek to "minimise the terror that the victim experienced at the time of the attack".

Sentencing Popescu, Judge Lloyd-Clarke said Popescu felt "very little true remorse".

"In my judgement, the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors," she added.

Popescu was forbidden from contacting Ms Pintili or any of her children and was also banned from entering Merthyr Tydfil.