Around Slovakia

Priest suspected of murder suffers heart attack

Village priest Štefan K. (69) suffered a heart attack after being taken into custody by police on January 11 under suspicion of murdering his church's property manager, 59 year-old Milan P., who died on January 10 from injuries sustained during the night of January 8. The suspect was taken to a local hospital, where his condition was stabilised.
Police say the murder took place near the village's church. Milan P. was subdued by severe blows to the skull, face, arms and legs, doused with gasoline, set on fire and pushed down a staircase.
An autopsy revealed that Milan P.'s skull, arms and legs had been broken in several places and that 20% of his body had sustained second degree burns.
Local prosecutors have yet to indict Štefan K., who was taken to the hospital before being formerly questioned. His only statement to police was, "There might have been something between us [he and the victim], but I don't remember what." Štefan K. is expected to be discharged from hospital within 10 days .

Missing boys found frozen to death

Two Romany boys missing for over a day were found frozen to death Monday morning in Hrabušice. The pair were last seen Sunday afternoon playing by the side of a road.
A search for the boys, which began on Sunday at 20:00 and involved helicopters, ended when the two were found near a water reservoir 200 metres from the village.
The tragedy adds weight to the local belief that Hrabušice is cursed. The small village was the sight of a forest fire that killed six people in October.

Murdering doctor run over by train

Police discovered that a 51 year-old doctor who was run over by a train near Brezno on January 11 had killed her husband moments earlier.
The circumstances became clear after police entered the doctor's flat. They found her husband, who had been reported missing by his boss, lying dead with two stab wounds to the chest.

Road sign thief nabbed by police

Police found a 36 year-old resident of Bratislava walking down Vajnorská street with a "Men at work" road sign on his shoulder after midnight on January 17 after receiving an anonymous tip. The man was unable to explain why he was carrying the road sign or where it was from. Police say they took him to the police station "so that he could think it over."

Man commits suicide after killing wife's boyfriend

A distraught husband shot himself on January 15 after killing his wife's boyfriend in a Bratislava flat.
The couple were going through a divorce and both husband and wife had begun new relationships. The man came to his wife's flat with their 7 year-old son. He took the boy to school, and said he would return to discuss something with his wife's boyfriend.
Police have not said how the husband killed the other man. The husband's body was found on the outskirts of Modra. In a suicide note addressed to his parents he stated that his life had lost meaning after the disintegration of his family.

Boy dies in tree-climbing tragedy

A 12 year-old boy died while climbing down from a tree outside a Bratislava kindergarten when his scarf became tangled in the tree's branches, strangling him.
Police said he had been playing with a large group of boys in a yard by the school. At 21:00 his 14 year-old cousin shouted to him that it was time to go home. Receiving no answer, the cousin climbed the tree and found him stuck in the branches.
A bystander with a mobile phone called for an ambulance, but the boy had died by the time it arrived.

Veľký Krtíš
Four charged with dealing marihuana

Two teenagers and one adult from Veľký Krtíš were charged on January 16 with illegal
production and distribution of marihuana. Police said 20 year-old Kristián B. had been growing plants on his balcony
from May to January 2001 and selling the drug through two friends.
In a separate incident Michal J. (18) was found with marihuana seeds when police searched his house. Police said he had grown the plants near the town of Modrý Kameň between April and September 2000. Michal J. was caught selling six grams of marihuana for roughly 200 Slovak crowns ($4.30).

Patricide case interrupted for mental health reasons

Trenčín investigators interrupted the prosecution of 19 year-old Jozef G. from Handlová after a psychiatrist's report recommended he undergo clinical treatment. Jozef G. was charged with murder in the autumn of 2000. Investigators said that following a quarrel, he struck his 44 year-old father four times with an axe, causing his immediate death.
An examination of Jozef G.'s state of mind at the time of the crime concluded that a pathological attack had left him temporarily unable to tell the difference between right and wrong, and unable to judge the danger of his behaviour.

Young men arrested for forging banknotes

A Prievidza prosecutor charged two young men on January 15 with forging banknotes. One of the men, 17 year-old Roman D., owned a quality computer and a scanner, which enabled him to produce an almost identical banknote copy.
His friend, 28 year-old Adrián B., suggested to him that he produce counterfeit 500 crown ($11) bills. Roman produced 20 such banknotes and Adrián used them at night bars and discos.
Encouraged by the fact that they had managed to buy alcohol for 500 crowns on January 13, the men tried to use the bills again the next day. A waiter in a Nitrianske Sučany restaurant, surprised by the large tip they gave him, examined the banknotes and found out they were fake and called the police. When the men found out that they had been discovered, they attempted to flush the remaining bills down a toilet. If convicted, the men could face prison sentences of 5 to 10 years.

School bus catches fire

Elementary school children experienced a memorable moment on a trip to Prešov astronomic observatory on January 16 when during the ride their bus caught fire. Luckily, the children did not panic and quickly got off the burning bus. No injuries were reported. According to firemen at the scene, the fire was caused by the heating system. Damage to the bus was estimated at 500,000 crowns ($11,000).

Compiled by Martina Pisárová and Matthew J. Reynolds from press reports

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