Murder he wrote
Sometimes fact and fiction can be the same thing…
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