Attack on Josip Strok ‘disgusting, barbaric and backwards’, vigil in Dublin hears

More than 100 people attend memorial to Croatian man who died on April 3rd following assault in Clondalkin

The serious assault of a Croatian man which led to his death in Clondalkin, Co Dublin, was “disgusting, barbaric and backwards”, a vigil has heard.

More than 100 people attended the vigil on Grange View Road, close to where Josip Strok was found on March 30th after being seriously assaulted.

The 39-year-old carpenter, who lived in Dublin city centre, suffered serious head injuries and was on life support for several days before being pronounced dead on April 3rd.

Shortly before the vigil began, three gardaí arrived to hand out flyers seeking assistance in relation to the assault.


While no arrests have been made, gardaí are now seeking the assistance of two individuals in particular who were in the area and may be able to provide information.

“I’m in shock, I’ve been crying for a few days now since I heard the news,” said Roberta Terzic, adding: “I have no words to explain how I feel.”

Ms Terzic left Croatia nine years ago to live in Ireland and described the assault and death of Mr Strok as “devastating”.

“I’m in Dublin since 2015 and I’ve never felt the way I feel now. That scenario changed the whole perspective about the environment that I live in,” she said, adding that she now fears for her safety.

“I always felt like I belonged here but now I don’t feel like I’m welcome any more,” she said.

Jelena Basic from Split has lived in Ireland for six years and echoed Ms Terzic, adding that she is “disgusted” by the assault.

“I don’t want to live in fear in general but since this happened, I’m a little bit shook,” she said.

The women met on Friday for the first time and were just two of dozens of Croatians at the vigil, all visibly in grief and shock.

“Within the Croatian community it was really a big blow to hear that somebody would be attacked in such a savage way,” said Mario, adding: “I don’t feel safe any more.”

The vigil was organised by members of Clondalkin for All, with member Darragh Adelaide describing the assault as “disgusting, barbaric and backwards”.

“Clondalkin has always been a welcoming community, my dad came here from Nigeria 27 years ago and we’ve lived happily here.

“You can see a lot of faces here, people come from all sorts of backgrounds, that’s what Clondalkin has always been about,” he said.

In the background, other gardaí were carrying out door-to-door enquiries and handing out flyers to people living in the estate, while children cycled and played further afield.

Several people who lived in the immediate area where Mr Strok was found attended, with one woman stressing that they had done all they could to help him.

The woman who performed CPR on Mr Strok wished to remain anonymous but wanted his family to know that they had tried to save his life.

The vigil heard that Mr Strok was a “kind” man whose “last act” was saving four lives through organ donation.

“There’s a very sombre mood, obviously, a young man has lost his life tragically,” said local independent councillor Francis Timmons.

Mr Timmons, along with other locals at the vigil, believe the assault was motivated by hatred, pointing to a recent interview with Mr Strok’s friend.

Mr Strok’s friend David Druzinec, a fellow Croatian, was also seriously assaulted and recently told Jutarnji, a Croatian news site, that the two friends were told to speak English before they were attacked.

The two friends then got on a bus, with Mr Druzinec saying the bus was followed by the attackers who were in a car and once they were walking again, they were attacked unexpectedly from behind.

“They hit me first with something, I don’t know if was it a rod or a bat, I asked the police the details they saw on the video, which they supposedly have,” he said adding that he tried to get up to help his friend but was targeted again “even harder”.

The last thing he remembers is waking up in Tallaght University Hospital.

Shortly before the vigil ended, flowers and candles were placed where Mr Strok was found – on the road outside a quaint family home.

A father alongside his daughter stood outside their front door mere feet away from where Mr Strok was found, watching as more than 100 people congregated in silence.

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