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Romania shock after serial killer released early from jail is suspect in attempted murder of girl

The girl, 17, is in a critical condition in hospital
The girl, 17, is in a critical condition in hospital Copyright Octav Ganea/Inquam Photos
Copyright Octav Ganea/Inquam Photos
By Cristian Gherasim
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The 17-year-old was doused in petrol and set alight at her home in south-west Romania last Saturday, say prosecutors.


Romania has been rocked after it emerged the suspect in the attempted murder of a 17-year-old was a serial killer who had been released from prison early.

The 17-year-old was doused in petrol and set alight at her home in Dârvari, south-west Romania, last Saturday, according to prosecutor Petrică Cercel.

She is currently in a critical condition in hospital in the capital Bucharest after suffering burns on 90% of her body.

“The man went to the girl’s house, got into the room, poured gasoline on her, set her alight and then left," said Cercel.

"Her grandmother was asleep and if it hadn’t been for her brother, the girl would have probably burned to death.”

In the days leading up to the attack, the girl had made a rape complaint against the man, according to Cercel.

The pair had communicated via social media, he added.

The 45-year-old suspect, who has been captured by police, was convicted in 1994 for killing five people. He spent 25 years in prison but was freed early in May 2019 under a law that saw more than 20,000 convicts released.

The case has put Romania’s prisons under the spotlight and sent a ripple through the country’s criminal justice system.

On Tuesday, the Minister of Justice announced sacking both the director and deputy director of Drobeta-Turnu-Severin prison for the conditional release of the suspect.

The victim’s 16-year-old brother is now in the care and under the supervision of the local child protection services. A spokesperson said that “the child is being treated and counselled after having suffered an unimaginable trauma”.

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