A man has today been jailed for manslaughter after putting his former boss in a 'vegetative state' in an attack.

Arjan Balla, 41, punched Anastassios Delis in a planned confrontation in Southampton just days after he was sacked in November 2006.

Dad-of-three Mr Delis was left unable to breathe for himself and could only open his eyes - a state he remained in for nearly 11 years until his tragic death from pneumonia in December 2017.

Balla was previously jailed for the attack in 2007 while using the alias Tahir Karaj.

Prosecutors reopened the case when Mr Delis died, and Balla - the killer's real name - has now faced justice for inflicting what Mr Delis' wife previously called a 'living death' on her husband.

Today at Southampton Crown Court he has been sentenced to a year in prison after admitting manslaughter.

Judge Christopher Parker KC said: "The taking of human life should be acknowledged even as late as this. The passage of time does not erase the impact of what you did all those years ago." 

The court heard how Balla had entered the UK illegally and had been using a fake name whilst working for a steel erecting firm in Portsmouth run by Mr Delis.

In 2006 he was dismissed from the company but attended the Portsmouth site in an effort to get his job back.

Balla left the area and went to the company’s Southampton site in Queensway where he pulled up in a car with two other people.

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He followed Mr Delis, ordering him to get into the car so they could talk.

His boss then pushed him, with Balla reacting by punching him in the head.

Mr Delis fell to the ground, hitting his head on the floor of the garage forecourt.

The court was told how he sustained “serious head injuries” and suffered “severe impairment of consciousness”.

Daily Echo: Police at the scene of the assault in Queensway, SouthamptonPolice at the scene of the assault in Queensway, Southampton (Image: NQ)

He was rushed to hospital but despite surgery, was left in a vegetative state and spent the rest of his life in a care home.

Balla was jailed for three years for causing grievous bodily harm but was released after one year.

He was deported to his home country of Albania, still maintaining his fake identity.

Mr Delis died on December 12, 2017, aged 68 after developing pneumonia.

He was 57 at the time of the assault.

A postmortem found that his death was as a result of the delayed effects of the head injury caused in November 2006.

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Prosecutor, Sally Howes KC said: “There is no doubt that the initial head injury was the underlying cause.”

An application was made to reopen criminal proceedings against Balla who was arrested whilst re-entering the country at Stansted Airport.

He had been living in Godstone Road, Whyteleafe, Surrey since 2020 with his family at the time and pleaded guilty to a single charge of manslaughter.

Speaking at his sentencing hearing, Judge Christopher Parker KC said this was a “planned confrontation in which there was a highly predictable escalation into violence.

“There were two or three blows. When he was on the ground he was kicked unnecessarily as it turned out.”

Daily Echo: Daily Echo front page after Arjan Balla jailed in January 2007Daily Echo front page after Arjan Balla jailed in January 2007 (Image: NQ)

Mr Delis’ wife, Christine Delis, previously described the assault and its consequences as “a living death”.

In a statement read out in the previous court proceedings, she said her life had been “destroyed”, describing her husband as “a hardworking man who has worked all of his life”.

Mitigating today, Matthew Farmer said his client “expresses his remorse” and takes “responsibility for what happened".

He added: “When he took the decision he made to confront Mr Delis back in 2006 he was 24.

“What he did is something he is and will always be ashamed of.

"I cannot maintain that it is a one-punch manslaughter. But it is not far off it. 

"He was, reading between the lines, I would submit, essentially trying to get his job back."