A chef who murdered a man who was in bed with his ex-girlfriend before drunkenly returning to the scene of the crime has been jailed for life.
Marek Hecko, 26, fled from a property in Chelmsford, Essex, after stabbing Adrian Ellingford, 44, twice in the back in the early hours of 25 July last year.
The 26-year-old returned to the scene later that morning carrying a bottle of brandy and told police officers he knew what had happened and that he could help.
Bodycam footage showed the “heavily intoxicated” Gecko approach police and start swearing at officers after the fatal attack.
He said: “I know what happened. I know the people… involved. I just know that some guy came here and he f**ked up some guy. If you don’t have me, you don’t know what happened. You’re going to think about me, but it’s not going to be me, because you have no proof. This city is mine.”
Hecko, of Rookes Crescent, Chelmsford, was arrested after becoming confrontational and he was later identified as the main suspect while in custody.
During a three-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, Hecko claimed he went to the scene of the crime after seeing what had happened on the news. But no information about the murder had been released online or on social media at that point.
The court heard how Adrian Ellingford was staying at the home of Hecko’s ex-girlfriend Stephanie Breame on the night he was killed.
Hecko had been in a relationship with Ms Breame before she broke it off in April 2022, but he remained obsessed with her and swamped her with lengthy messages, and took photos and videos of himself outside her workplace and home as he ‘stalked’ her, the court was told. His DNA was found on a bottle of wine at the crime scene as well as on the handle of a knife, as it had snapped off when he stabbed Mr Ellingford.
Ms Breame, who was in a romantic relationship with married Mr Ellingford, woke in bed when he made a comment about “someone” being in the house. The 44-year-old then collapsed with the knife embedded in his back.
On Monday 13 March, a jury unanimously found Hecko guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 26 years on Tuesday.
Detective Chief Inspector Louise Metcalfe said: “This was a senseless attack on Adrian, which has left two children without a father. I hope that they can move forward and find some closure now that Hecko is behind bars.”
‘Our boys didn’t deserve to have their dad taken away’
Following the conviction, Mr Ellingford’s wife Laura paid tribute to him, describing him as an “amazing husband of 17 years, a loving son, a caring brother, a friend to many and most importantly a truly brilliant father.”
He was a father to two boys aged 10 and 12 who volunteered at the local boys’ scout group. Laura said: “Words cannot describe how I feel about the events of 25th July 2022. He was brutally ripped from our lives in events that I still can’t really comprehend myself or begin to explain to our boys. The impact of his death has affected many people in very different ways. It is totally heartbreaking.”
She added: “In all of this it’s the impact on those two innocent boys that is the most heartbreaking thing. Yes we have all lost Adrian and are dealing our own grief and the consequences of his death but they did not deserve to have their beloved dad taken away from them like this.
“Having to tell them both that their beloved dad was never coming home was the most painful and heartbreaking thing that I have ever had to do. They are 12 and 10 years old and not really old enough to truly appreciate what they’ve lost.
“They will not have Adrian with them through the milestones in their lives. He will never be able to teach them to drive, buy them their first drink or to celebrate their academic achievements. He will never see them grow up into young men who will have partners and families of their own. No one will ever be able to replace their dad.
“Adrian you will always be missed by us as your family and you will always hold a special place in our hearts. We miss you every day and love you forever.”