- Mark Patten, 30, punched academic Menelaos Aligizakis, 43, in Waterloo
- Kicked and stamped on him in early hours while screaming hysterically
- Walked away from scene and shouted with driver before being arrested
- ‘Devastated’ father of victim tells of his ‘psychological emptiness for life’
A murderer who killed a talented classical pianist in an unprovoked attack as they left a nightclub was today jailed for at least 17 years.
Mark Patten, 30, of Thornton Heath, south London, punched respected academic Menelaos Aligizakis, 43, before kicking and stamping on his head while screaming hysterically.
He then walked away from the scene in Waterloo, central London, before shouting with a passing taxi driver who had stopped after seeing Greek Mr Aligizakis lying motionless on the ground.
Patten was found guilty at the Old Bailey last Thursday of the murder nine months ago, and was sentenced to life imprisonment today.
The court was told how Mr Aligizakis, who was in London visiting friends during the Christmas period, had arrived at the club on Lower Marsh Street at about midnight.
Patten entered shortly after but was seen leaving at 0.30am and returning about 45 minutes later with a female friend. Patten or Mr Aligizakis did not speak to each other at the club.
Then at 2.29am CCTV showed Patten and his friend leaving, followed three minutes later by Mr Aligizakis. Patten and his friend walked along the road before they met Mr Aligizakis at a junction.
They then walked along and talked together, before they turned towards Waterloo train station with Mr Aligizakis walking slightly ahead. At this point Patten unleashed his attack on Mr Aligizakis.
At the time Mr Aligizakis had his hands in his pockets and therefore could not protect himself as Patten punched him and left him on the floor.
The passing taxi driver stopped at the scene, along with a rickshaw driver and his passenger, who called for help at 2.45am and put Mr Aligizakis in the recovery position.
Bus passengers who had witnessed the attack told their driver of what had just happened as Patten and his friend tried to board – and the driver refused to let them on.
The two then headed off towards Waterloo Bridge, where they were stopped moments later by police officers – and Patten was arrested.
The London Ambulance Service attended but Mr Aligizakis was pronounced dead at the scene at 3.28am. A post-mortem found blunt force trauma to the head as the cause of death.
After the case, Mr Aligizakis’s father George, a retired barrister, said: ‘With all the cases that I have had to handle and all the ugliness that I have seen and felt, nothing compares to such a horrific loss as is the loss of my son, in such an uncomprehending manner.
‘I am really devastated and I still don’t think that words can describe my psychological emptiness for life following this horrific loss of my beloved child.
‘I have not only lost a son, but a friend, a guardian, a heart-warming soul to all the darkness in the world, who despite the fact he didn’t follow my profession, he was a fighter of life.’
His mother Irini added: ‘Joy has been replaced with pain, hopelessness and despair, not for myself, his mother but for his father and sister.
‘The murderer not only killed Menelaos but his family as well. Menelaos was a charismatic, real and substantial person. He loved everyone and committed his strength and energy to help all who needed help.
‘With his volunteering in all facets of life, of helping the poor, the homeless, giving them money, food, medication and donating his blood. A hug from my child solved all the problems.’
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Will Reynolds said: ‘Mr Aligizakis was a well-liked and professional man who had returned to London to visit friends during the Christmas period.
‘He was familiar with London having lived here for several years prior to returning to his native Greece. His death was a result of a senseless and unprovoked act of brutality inflicted by Patten.’