WAs the judge reads, a deep insight into the thoughts of the woman, wrapped in an anorak, sits bent over on the dock of the historic courtroom. The district court Darmstadt has to decide about the now 33-year-old German because of a poison attack at the Technical University of Darmstadt last year. Not long before that, in July 2021, she had written to the general public prosecutor’s office in Koblenz and complained about alleged tormentors who were stalking, injuring and sexually harassing her.
This stalker hacked their smartphone and their computer and manipulated them in such a way that they get different results when they search the Internet. The stalkers had a “patent” for technical devices with which they repeatedly generated voices in the woman’s head. The accusations are formulated again and again, the term “patent” keeps popping up, to which the stalkers would have access. What is meant are the devices with which the pursuers could also cause symptoms of illness.
The presiding judge, Volker Wagner, patiently reads all of this from the trial files until he pauses and shows sympathy for the woman who felt so persecuted and tormented. You can’t live with such thoughts, says the experienced judge: “Nobody can cope with that.” Paulina P. couldn’t stand it any longer when everything happened the way the public prosecutor’s office and police determined it. At first she had tried to get help from the authorities, for example by writing to the Attorney General’s Office, but without success. Eventually, she decided to “take her fate into her own hands,” as public prosecutor Ansgar Martinsohn puts it. That meant the woman tried to kill the alleged stalkers, the prosecutor says.
Mixture of hazardous chemicals from the laboratory
That’s why she entered building L2/01 on the Lichtwiese campus of the Technical University one night in August last year. First, she looked for toxic chemicals in a laboratory, recognizable by the warnings on the containers. Then she made up a mixture of several substances, including the solvent acetone. The woman, herself a student at the university, finally went into two tea kitchens and a break room and distributed the toxic solution in a water container with coffee water, several milk cartons and a honey jar. This took two and a half hours, after which the woman left the building early in the morning. The prosecutor sees the crime as attempted murder. However, the court does not have to decide on a sentence for the woman, but must decide whether she will be placed in a psychiatric clinic.
Seven employees of the university made coffee or tea, put milk or honey in it, as Martinsohn explains. Some of them spoke as witnesses in court about their memories of Monday morning, saying the drinks stank of glue or tasted bitter. Most only took a few sips, but there were signs of poisoning such as cold and bruised fingers. A scientist assumed the bitter taste was due to a particularly strong type of coffee, drank half of his cup and was in mortal danger, the prosecutor reports. The employees initially believed it was a mistake, such as a mistake when descaling the coffee machine, as a 34-year-old engineer says. Nobody thought that the university could become the target of an attack. After all, ceramic components are researched there and no animal experiments are carried out.