Thursday, 09 Aug, 2007 Offbeat

Crime Story Writer - a Cruel Killer?


A Polish writer has been accused of a murder - he wrote a crime story, having precisely described the facts of a real-life murder.

According to investigators, travel writer, journalist and author Krystian Bala, aged 33, sent them his bestseller novel Amok that provided a detailed murder account in an attempt to draw attention to it. It raised strong suspicion of the police as the writer's account turned out to be amazingly close to the murder of a man who, in December 2000, was found dead near a weir on the Oder river. The matter was aggravated by the fact that the killed man, Dariusz J, happened to be a friend of the writer's ex-wife.

In his Amok novel, Krystian Bala describes in details how the man was tied up the same way as the dead Dariusz J, who was found with his hands tied behind his back, round his wrists and neck. The murdered man had also been tortured.

The writer has denied the accusations. He explained his detailed knowledge of the murder by reading all the press reports. He added, he was framed to cover up for what he said was a 'bungled' police investigation. Prior to the trial, Krystian Bala told the local press that Amok was his fictional work and even if the language and situations in the novel seemed too strong to be merely a fruit of his imagination, it was an intellectual work.

According to critics' reviews, the Amok novel's plot is focused on a group of intellectuals bored of their monotonous life. They try to compensate the lack of excitement by drugs, alcohol and sex. The novel is written in aggressive and expressive language mixed with philosophical musings.

Police commissar Jaceck Wroblewski, responsible for the investigation, claimed he had read the novel a few times. He tried to compare every line with Bala's own CV, having concluded he discovered some striking comparisons. The investigator accused the writer of selling the mobile phone of the murdered man on the internet four days after his death. Bala was also accused of sending the TV programme 997, similar to Crimewatch, emails where he described the murder as 'the perfect crime'.

The writer's ex-wife was called to testify in court. The woman described the writer as 'controlling', having explained it was the reason she decided to divorce him.

According to Krystian Bala's lawyer, the evidence against the writer is thin. Still, prosecutors have demanded for him a 25-year sentence. A verdict is expected to be announced in the next few days.

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