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Katowice. A 75-year-old man accused of a gas explosion in the rectory building in the Szopienice district. His wife and daughter died, but he is not responsible for that

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The prosecutor’s office has sent an indictment to the court against a 75-year-old man who is responsible for causing a gas explosion in the rectory building of the Evangelical Augsburg parish in Katowice-Szopienice. As a result of the explosion, his wife and daughter were killed and three people were injured.

The explosion occurred in January 2023. The bodies of the wife and daughter of a 75-year-old man, who was also injured, were found in the rubble. The family occupied one of the apartments there.

The 75-year-old survived. He was accused of causing the explosion. He will not be held responsible for the death of his loved ones because – according to expert opinions – the cause of the women’s deaths was previous drug poisoning.

The rectory building collapsed

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The spokeswoman of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, Marta Zawada-Dybek, announced on Thursday that the indictment had been sent to the District Court Katowice-Wschód. The 75-year-old will be charged with causing a direct danger of a natural gas explosion and unintentionally causing an explosion, which resulted in the collapse of the rectory building and the injury of two children and their father.

The 75-year-old was seriously injured in the explosion and spent many days in hospital. He was arrested in March and has been under arrest since then. As Zawada-Dybek noted, extensive evidence was collected during the investigation – witnesses were interviewed and numerous specialist expert opinions were sought.

– As it was established, the cause of the explosion in the rectory building was the outflow of gas into the living quarters occupied by the accused’s family. In the prosecutor’s opinion, the evidence collected during the investigation – including the opinion of a gas expert – indicates that the defendant intentionally unsealed the gas installation in his apartment, which resulted in a gas leak. However, the evidence conducted did not allow determining whether the initiation of the explosion was the result of a deliberate act or an accident, added prosecutor Zawada-Dybek.

The bodies of two women, the injured vicar and his two children

As a result of the explosion, the family living in the building suffered injuries: two children and their father, the parish vicar. The bodies of two women were found in the rubble – the wife and daughter of a 75-year-old man. – Based on detailed expert opinions, it was established that the main cause of death of two women whose bodies were recovered from the rubble of the collapsed building was poisoning with drugs they had taken earlier, and there are no grounds to assume that these people were alive at the time of the explosion – the prosecutor’s office said.

According to the findings of the investigation, as a result of the explosion, the Evangelical Augsburg parish suffered losses totaling over PLN 6 million. The explosion also damaged nearby buildings and cars, including: the church of the Evangelical-Augsburg parish in Katowice and the building of the Primary School (damage over PLN 700,000), Food Industry School Complex (damage over PLN 900,000). In total, the prosecutor granted the status of injured party to 19 natural persons and other entities.

The suspect did not admit to committing the crime he was accused of and provided explanations during the investigation. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

A letter sent before the tragedy

The explosion occurred on January 27 around 8:30 a.m. in Katowice-Szopienice. The bodies of a 69-year-old woman and her 40-year-old daughter were found in the rubble. Their husband and father was taken to hospital. This family lived in the rectory and years ago took care of the church.

A few days after the explosion, the media reported that they had received a letter signed by all three of them, which was sent to the editor shortly before the tragedy. There is a foreshadowing of an extended suicide. The authors of the letter wrote that, being in a difficult situation, they turned to the priest with whom they lived and worked for help; they felt cheated by him.

The information about the misunderstandings in the rectory was then confirmed by the parish priest and the bishop of the Katowice diocese of the Evangelical Augsburg Church, Marian. German. According to the bishop, the conflict between the family that was supposed to write the letter and the parish had been going on for years, and its background was financial issues. The dispute was based on the court, which agreed with the parish. As the bishop described, the family that years ago took care of the church, lived in the rectory and was supported by the parish, did not pay rent or utilities; she had not been involved in the church for years.

Main photo source: TVN24

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