Gosport father wins justice after 16-years as son’s attacker is jailed

JUSTICE Terry Jeans and, inset his son Simon's attacker, Dejan Skaro
JUSTICE Terry Jeans and, inset his son Simon's attacker, Dejan Skaro

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A FATHER has finally got justice 16 years after his soldier son was killed in Croatia.

Terry Jeans never gave up his mission after Private Simon Jeans was attacked by thugs and hit on the head with a rock.

JAILED Dejan Skaro

JAILED Dejan Skaro

Now, one of the men who was involved has finally been sent to prison.

Last June, Dejan Skaro was convicted of a lesser charge of causing severe injury to 25-year-old Pte Jeans.

But he was only given a suspended sentence, and Mr Jeans appealed against it.

Yesterday, the Croatian Supreme Court announced the sentence had been overturned and that Skaro will now serve 18 months in prison.

Mr Jeans, 66, from Bridgemary in Gosport, has spent thousands of pounds visiting courts in Croatia and had to give up work and lost his home.

But he said it has all been worth it as his fight for justice finally reaches an end.

Mr Jeans told The News: ‘I feel that he deserved more but I am glad that by pressuring these people I have got justice.

‘It’s been 16 years. I’m glad it’s ended.

‘I couldn’t go on much longer. They knew I wasn’t going to go away until I got what I wanted. I knew if I hadn’t kept on, this man would have been free.

‘But I kept at it. It cost me a lot of grief and suffering.

‘It’s all been worth it now.

‘It’s taken 16 years to get to this. I won’t be able to forget this or be able to move on because it’s going to take me that long to get over it. I lost my house and had to give up work. It’s taken a lot out of me and a lot away from me.

‘People kept coming up to me and saying I should give this up but I just had to carry on. I am really glad with the result.’

Pte Jeans was serving in Bosnia when he crossed into Split, Croatia for a charity run. He was enjoying a night out with a group of soldiers on September 8, 1996, when they came under attack by a group of thugs.

He was taken back to the UK but died of a brain haemorrhage.

Mr Jeans added: ‘I have always said I was proud of Simon becoming a British soldier. I was proud of him because of what he achieved.

‘I know that he definitely would have been proud of me for not abandoning him and for giving all that I had to give. I have given it everything and I have done it all on my own.

‘Justice is obviously slow but it’s not impossible. That’s how it’s been. It’s not impossible to get what you want in the end.’

LONG ROAD TO JUSTICE

· 1996 – Simon Jeans dies in hospital of a brain haemorrhage after being beaten up in Croatia.

· 1998 – Five men appear in court and Terry Jeans visits Croatia for the trial, which is repeatedly adjourned.

· 2000 – The five men are convicted of assault and given 16 months in prison between them. Dejan Skaro, a juvenile, is acquitted.

· 2001 – Case is referred to the Croatian Supreme Court.

· 2003 – Supreme Court judge orders a retrial.

· 2004 – Date is set for the retrial of Dejan Skaro, who is now charged with murder.

· 2007 – Skaro is acquitted again after trial judge rules military decision to fly Pte Jeans to hospital in England contributed to his death.

· 2008 – Croatian Supreme Court orders another retrial after medical evidence refutes judge’s accusations.

· January 2011 – Mr Jeans is awarded almost £5,000 compensation by the European Court of Human Rights over the excessive delays.

· June 2011 – Skaro convicted of lesser charge of causing severe injury to Pte Jeans by hitting him with a rock. Given a suspended sentence.

· April 2012 - Skaro is jailed.