Mur­der he wrote

Some­times fact and fic­tion can be the same thing…

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It was a cold De­cem­ber morn­ing in 2000, when sev­eral fish­er­men spot­ted the naked body of a man float­ing in the wa­ters of the River Oder near Wro­claw, Poland.

The vic­tim, Dar­iusz Janiszewski, 35, had been starved for sev­eral days and cru­elly beaten.

While alive, Dar­iusz had his feet bound tightly to­gether be­hind his back and the rope con­tin­ued up to loop around his neck like a noose.

Every move would have made it tighten, painfully stran­gling him.

It’s not known whether that killed him, or if Dar­iusz was alive when he was tossed into the river and drowned.

It was a bru­tal mur­der, but de­spite a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion, there were no leads.

The me­dia dubbed it the ‘per­fect crime.’

But the killer would be found even­tu­ally – all thanks to a novel where a fic­ti­tious mur­der seemed all too fa­mil­iar.

What was es­pe­cially shock­ing about Dar­iusz’s sadis­tic mur­der, was that he seem­ingly had no en­e­mies.

Long-haired, blue-eyed Dar­iusz, who had a taste for rock mu­sic, was last seen four weeks be­fore his body was found, leav­ing his suc­cess­ful ad­ver­tis­ing firm.

His wife had re­ported him miss­ing when he didn’t re­turn home. A full-scale in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched. Rivers were trawled and forests were searched. None of his bank cards had been used and his mo­bile went unan­swered.

Ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with Dar­iusz was ques­tioned and his busi­ness records were combed through. But he was pop­u­lar, with no debts, no prob­lems and no crim­i­nal con­nec­tions.

His wife ad­mit­ted their mar­riage had been through a ‘rocky patch’ a few years ear­lier, but they were back on track and plan­ning on adopt­ing a child.

By May 2001, there wasn’t a sin­gle lead and po­lice had to let the case rest on file. It seemed the killer had got away with mur­der.

Three years later, a Pol­ish de­tec­tive called Jacek Wrob­lewski found the cold case in­ter­est­ing and started to look into it again.

Tech­no­log­i­cally minded, the de­tec­tive man­aged to trace Dar­iusz’s mo­bile phone from an old re­ceipt that his wife found. Turned out, it had been sold on an in­ter­net auc­tion site, three days af­ter Dar­iusz had dis­ap­peared.

The busi­ness­man who had bought it had no idea it had be­longed to a dead man.

It had been sold to him by a user go­ing by the name Chris B. That ac­count be­longed to a man called Krys­tian Bala.

Krys­tian turned out to be an au­thor who had re­cently pub­lished a graphic ‘adults only’ novel called Amok. It was vi­o­lent

and ex­plicit, and was about a young man who kills one of his lovers, Mary.

When De­tec­tive Wrob­lewski read the book, he was shocked by the num­ber of sim­i­lar­i­ties to the mur­der of Dar­iusz. I tight­ened the noose around her

neck, it read. Mary was tor­tured and had her hands bound be­hind her with a cord that was looped round her neck – just like Dar­iusz.

The killer had also sold the mur­der weapon, a knife, on an in­ter­net auc­tion site.

The main char­ac­ter was called Chris, like the name used on the auc­tion site. Had Krys­tian mur­dered Dar­iusz then used his ex­pe­ri­ence to write his novel? Why? It seemed un­be­liev­able. But with more in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it was re­vealed that there was a cred­i­ble mo­tive: jeal­ousy.

In 2000, the year Dar­iusz was mur­dered, Krys­tian’s life was fall­ing apart. His mar­riage to the

mother of his son, Stanis­lawa, had bro­ken down and his busi­ness had re­cently col­lapsed.

When he found out through a pri­vate de­tec­tive that his es­tranged wife had met a man at a night­club, he was fu­ri­ous.

The man had long hair and bright­blue eyes… Dar­iusz.

It was dur­ing the time he was hav­ing mar­riage prob­lems.

Dar­iusz and Stanis­lawa had gone on a date, but noth­ing hap­pened af­ter he con­fessed that he was mar­ried and she was still go­ing through her break up.

Krys­tian found out through a pri­vate de­tec­tive and ac­cused Stanis­lawa of hav­ing an af­fair.

He went round to hers in a rage, told her he knew ex­actly who Dar­iusz was and where he worked.

When Dar­iusz went miss­ing, Stanis­lawa asked Krys­tian about it, but he de­nied do­ing any­thing.

She never thought for a mo­ment he was ca­pa­ble of mur­der, so she never went to the po­lice.

Then he wrote a novel with the fi­nal line read­ing: This was the one killed by blind jeal­ousy. A taunt that would last a life­time. In 2005, Krys­tian was ar­rested for the mur­der, and in Fe­bru­ary 2007, he went on trial. It was a me­dia sen­sa­tion with the novel, Amok, cen­tre stage. The book had only sold a few thou­sand copies on its re­lease, but now it was sell­ing out across Poland. Pros­e­cu­tion said it con­tained de­tails of the mur­der that only the killer would have known.

They ac­cused him of writ­ing a ‘fic­tional’ ver­sion of the real life killing, draw­ing on his own grue­some ex­pe­ri­ence.

Krys­tian said that he’d got the de­tails from the press re­ports that came out at the time.

But it was clear that he had wrongly be­lieved his wife and Dar­iusz were hav­ing an af­fair.

He’d told his wife he knew where Dar­iusz worked.

Krys­tian’s mother, who worked at her son’s busi­ness, re­called tak­ing a call from an ag­i­tated man the day Dar­iusz dis­ap­peared.

She gave him her son’s mo­bile num­ber, then dis­cov­ered that Dar­iusz had ar­ranged to meet the caller be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing.

At his house, po­lice found a car phone that had been used that day to call the ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany.

Krys­tian also had in­for­ma­tion on his com­puter about Dar­iusz, de­spite deny­ing he knew him.

In the book, the killer gets away with mur­der – Krys­tian, 34, didn’t.

He was found guilty and sen­tenced to serve 25 years.

‘The ev­i­dence gath­ered gives suf­fi­cient ba­sis to say that Krys­tian Bala com­mit­ted the crime of lead­ing the killing,’ the judge said.

‘There are cer­tain shared char­ac­ter­is­tics between the book’s nar­ra­tor and the au­thor.’

He ap­pealed, but the se­cond trial re­sulted in the same out­come – Krys­tian was guilty.

To­day, the au­thor con­tin­ues to protest his in­no­cence and de­fends the vi­o­lent novel he wrote. ‘Of course, the book is bru­tal, vul­gar, the dirt­i­est I could write, but that’s how art must be – provoca­tive.

‘Just be­cause I write a mur­der, doesn’t mean I did it in real life,’ he’s said.

Krys­tian is now be­hind bars writ­ing his se­cond novel.

De­tec­tives will be keep­ing a close eye on whether it is a work of fic­tion, or fact…

Krys­tian had de­scribed de­tails in his book that only the killer would have known

Dar­iusz met a woman in a night­club Krys­tian was mad with jeal­ousy

Dar­iusz’s dis­traught mother hold­ing a pic­ture of her son

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