A MAN who left his brother-in-law permanently disabled after a horrific revenge attack could be jailed for more than 15 years.

David Rista, 25, from Newport, used his car to mow down Strugurel Lacatus from behind as walked along the city’s Wharf Road.

A jury rejected his bizarre defence in which he maintained his cousin was driving despite evidence proving Stoica Mugurel was in Belgium at the time.

Rista was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.


The attack happened on October 8, 2019.

The jury found him guilty on the first anniversary of the devastating assault.

The Romanian national was cleared of the more serious charge of attempted murder following a six-day trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

He mowed down the victim and left him for dead

Mr Lacatus suffered life-changing injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, skull fracture, subdural haemorrhage, broken back, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.

The jury were told the motive of the attack was revenge as a result of a feud between Rista and his wife’s three brothers Strugurel, Mugurel and Laurentiu.

Giving evidence in his defence, he said he and Adina Lacatus were unofficially married after a Roma wedding in accordance with “gypsy culture”.

He told his barrister Kevin Seal he didn’t get along very well with his wife’s brothers.

Rista claimed he was a victim of an assault at the hands of her family in July 2019.

He told the jury his first cousin Mr Mugurel was at the wheel of the defendant's Vauxhall Corsa when he lost control and ploughed into his brother-in-law.

Christopher Rees, prosecuting, said: “The defendant made threats about taking revenge on Strugurel Lacatus.

“Matters escalated and it was a festering sore and he was unable to get over it.

“The prosecution say he mowed down and left Mr Lacatus for dead.”

The victim was left in a critical condition and was treated at the scene by a student nurse and paramedics.

He was then flown by helicopter to Cardiff’s University of Wales Hospital where remained in intensive care for more than a month.

Judge Rhys Rowlands adjourned sentence until Monday, October 12 and remanded Rista in custody.

Causing grievous bodily harm with intent can attract life imprisonment with a sentencing range of between three and 16 years’ custody.