I meant to blog this story a couple of days ago but better late than never. Polish pulp fiction writer, Krystian Bala, was sentenced to 25 years in jail this week for his role in a case of abduction, torture and murder, a crime that he then used for the plot of a bestselling thriller. Bala was found guilty of orchestrating the murder seven years ago of businessman, Dariusz Janiszewski, in a crime brought on by the suspicion that the victim was sleeping with his ex-wife.
In the novel, the villain gets away with kidnapping, mutilating and murdering a young woman. Janiszewski, said to have been having an affair with Bala's ex-wife, was found in the river Oder near Wroclaw in south-west Poland in December 2000, four weeks after going missing. The police tests revealed that he was stripped almost naked and tortured. His wrists had been bound behind his back and tied to a noose around his neck before he was dumped in the river. The police had little to go on and within six months, the case was dropped. It remained closed for five years.
2003 saw the publication of Bala’s novel Amok, a story about a group of bored sadists, with the narrator, Chris, recounting the murder of a young woman. The details of the murder matched those of Janiszewski almost exactly. Bala, who often uses the first name Chris, was initially arrested in 2005 but released for lack of evidence. When further evidence came to light, Bala was re-arrested. The case against him, however, remained circumstantial.
Police uncovered evidence that Bala had known the dead man, had telephoned him around the time of his disappearance and had then sold the dead man's mobile phone on the Internet within days of the murder. Bala has protested his innocence, insisting that he derived the details for the Amok thriller from media reports of the Janiszewski murder. Sentencing Bala to 25 years', Judge Lidia Hojenska admitted that he could not be found directly guilty of carrying out the murder. But the evidence sufficed to find him guilty of planning and orchestrating the crime. "The evidence gathered gives sufficient basis to say that Krystian Bala committed the crime of leading the killing of Dariusz Janiszewski," she said.
The court heard expert and witness evidence that Bala was a control freak, eager to show off his intelligence, "pathologically jealous" and inclined to sadism. "He was pathologically jealous of his wife," said Judge Hojenska. "He could not allow his estranged wife to have ties with another man."