UK’s ‘first Romanian’ dies in crash, four years after first job in Biggleswade

Victor Spirescu, pictured in a selfie posted to Facebook in 2016. Picture: Victor Spirescu

Victor Spirescu, pictured in a selfie posted to Facebook in 2016. Picture: Victor Spirescu - Credit: Archant

The first Romanian to enter the UK when working restrictions were lifted has died in a motor crash, four years after he started out at a Biggleswade car wash.

Victor Spirescu, who was briefly the most famous Romanian in Britain and the “face of UK immigration”, quit after just two days at his job near Biggleswade’s Aldi supermarket – claiming the attention was overwhelming.

He died on Monday after his Mitsubishi crashed near Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, close to his home in Milton Keynes. He was 33 years old.

Mr Spirescu, a handyman from Transylvania, became a sudden celebrity on January 1, 2014, when he was one of a handful taking advantage of the revised EU visa regulations on the 7.40am flight to Luton from the village of Pelisor.

It was the first plane from Romania on the day when EU working restrictions were lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians, and a flood of new arrivals had been forecast – but instead he was one of only a few immigrants greeted by a media scrum and VIP welcoming party including MPs Keith Vaz and Mark Reckless.

Most of the Romanians on the flight already worked in the UK, but Mr Spirescu was coming to Britain for the first time. He later said he had no idea he had arrived on the day the rules changed, having come after a friend lined him up the car-washing job.

In the following days he met more politicians, including the then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and was asked for autographs by strangers in the street.

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There was some backlash when it emerged that he had a conviction for assaulting a previous girlfriend in Romania.

Mr Spirescu started work in Biggleswade barely a day after arriving. He quit after two days, blaming the dozens of phone calls and visits journalists were giving him at work.

He told The Guardian: “I was the image for Romanian people and I knew I must make a good image. I didn’t want to make problems for them, so I decided I needed to get away and get a new job.”

Mr Spirescu subsequently worked in construction in east London before joining a ventilation company as a business manager. He claimed to have earned £58,000 in 2016.

His fiancée Suzana Mates, 23, told Romanian media on Tuesday that Mr Spirescu had “died on the spot” after the crash, which saw the vehicle roll. Mr Spirescu was found two metres from the car.