Gdańsk attacker was known to have mental problems

Information released by the "Rzeczpospolita" daily indicates that Stefan W., who murdered Gdańsk mayor on Sunday, was known to the prison staff, psychologists, as well as prosecutors, to have mental problems.

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The 27-year-old served over five years in prison for several armed bank robberies. He was released in December last year after serving a full sentence, despite appealing for an early release three times. According to the information by the “Rzeczpospolita” daily, his application was denied due to a lack of evidence that he would be a law-abiding citizen once out of prison.

“Petitions for an early release were not approved, neither by the head of the penitentiary nor the prosecutor. The court indicated that early release is awarded to those with particularly good behaviour which may indicate an effective resocialisation. The behaviour of [Stefan W.] was far from that,” the spokesman of the regional court told the daily.

The spokeswoman of the Central Penitentiary Administration Elżbieta Krakowska was more straightforward in her analysis. She said that “the social prognosis of the inmate was negative.”

She added that “while serving his sentence, Stefan W. was consulted by psychiatrists over 20 times… He was also treated in a regional psychiatric institution.”

Faulty procedures?

A criminologist cited by the newspaper argued that if the prison staff had been aware that Stefan W. had mental problems, he ought to be examined prior to his release.

“A team of specialists should determine if the inmate’s behaviour indicated that he would be able to function in a society once released and whether he should be released, or not,” he said. “Perhaps a thorough examination would prove that he should be treated in a mental asylum [instead of going free].”

However, once released from prison, Stefan W. was no longer under the observation of psychiatric specialists.

Questioned by the police after the Sunday attack, Stefan W.’s mother said that he had stopped taking medications a few days before the attack.

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