Man jailed for attempted murder of pregnant ex

Daniel Popescu in police custody
Daniel Popescu tried to murder his ex-girlfriend Andreea Pintili as she walked home from the school run [South Wales Police]

A "jealous" man who stabbed his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend as she walked home from the school run has been jailed for 17 years and four months.

Daniel Popescu, 29, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Andreea Pintili in Aberfan, Merthyr Tydfil, on 5 December 2023, as well as stalking offences.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard he hid behind a parked car with a large knife and waited for Ms Pintili to return home from taking her children to school.

"His intention that day was to kill me and my unborn child," she said in her victim impact statement.

Prosecutor John Hipkin KC told the court Popescu had been in a relationship with Ms Pintili from September 2020 until August 2023, when she ended it over his gambling habit.

He then became obsessed with her and, between 25 October and 5 December, stalked and harassed Ms Pintili by following her and attempting to call her from withheld numbers.

He also posted a video of her on TikTok, sat outside her home and left his clothes in two black bags on her doorstep before leaving her a voicemail saying: "I’m not going anywhere until you get back with me."

Popescu was arrested and told to not contact Ms Pintili, who had moved to Aberfan.

Andreea Pintili
Andreea Pintili was heavily pregnant with her attacker's child when she was stabbed [Andreea Pintili]

On 5 December, Ms Pintili heard footsteps behind her as she arrived back home on Coronation Place just after 09:00 after dropping her children at school.

Popescu told her: "I have a knife and I am going to kill you."

She tried to run but fell to the floor where he repeatedly stabbed her with an 8-inch (20cm) knife.

The court heard her instinct was to protect her unborn child as she was 37 weeks pregnant.

The court was shown CCTV of the incident, which included screams from a passer-by who ran over and tried to stop Popescu, who fled the scene.

Popescu was described by Ms Pintili as a jealous man who could not face the fact they had split up.

In her victim personal statement she said: "I feel lucky to be alive after this harrowing experience.

"He told me he had a knife and to get into the house. I have no doubt if I went into the house he would have killed me."

David Aubrey KC, defending, told the court that, despite the terror Ms Pintili was subjected to, "the physical harm was not serious".

He said Popescu was sleeping rough at the time and had been told he was the child's father, but would not be a part of their life.

He said Popescu suffered with low mood and anxiety and had a history of losing his temper and getting angry.

“He does not argue this was justification of what he did," Mr Aubrey said.

"And he has expressed his remorse which is genuine."

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, said the offence was aggravated by the fact that Popescu was on bail with conditions not to contact Ms Pintili.

She said the extended sentence was needed to "protect the public in the future" and despite his guilty pleas added it was "apparent you feel very little true remorse".

Popescu will serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison before he can be considered for release and will also serve three years on licence.

He was also handed a "rare" indefinite restraining order to protect Ms Pintili and her children from further assault or harassment.

Daniel Popescu walking in front of security guard
Daniel Mihai Popescu was sleeping rough at the time of the stabbing [Wales News Service]

The judge prohibited him from "contacting Andreea Pintili or any of the children directly or indirectly by any means and you must not enter Merthyr Tydfil," adding he could face a further five years in prison for any breach.

Jordan Jones from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This was an unprovoked, vicious attack that had a great effect on not only the victim, but the wider community as local schools were forced into shut down until the police were able to detain the defendant"

Det Insp James Morris commended the extraordinary "strength and bravery of the victim in supporting this prosecution".