A woman who wore Gucci shoes in court to say sorry for murdering her lesbian lover carried out the killing after eating gone-off fish triggered paranoid schizophrenia in her.
The murder took place in September last year in a hotel in the Favoriten borough of the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Hotel staff called police when the murderer, identified as 31-year-old Austrian native Jennifer Z., appeared in the reception area in a confused state a day after having checked in saying that her girlfriend, a 25-year-old German only identified as Sarah, was not doing well.
After the hotel reception called the police, the cops discovered Sarah’s body in the hotel room with an autopsy indicating she had been suffocated using a bathrobe belt.
A psychiatric report found that Jennifer Z. was criminally insane when she killed her girlfriend with whom she had plans to marry as they found indications of paranoid schizophrenia.
According to Jennifer Z.’s own accounts, she cannot remember a thing about the fateful day.
Court psychiatrist Peter Hofmann said Jennifer Z.’s condition have been triggered by the fact that she had suffered from fish poisoning during a holiday a few days earlier in Croatia, which had caused delusions of persecution.
He also found indications of light cannabis use which is it might also play their part in triggering the delusions together with the fish poisoning but she said had aggravated her condition.
She turned up for the trial wearing Gucci shoes, with her lawyer, Astrid Wagner, saying: “She regrets enormously what happened and as a result wanted to pay a lot of attention to her appearance in court.”
The lawyer said that her client was aware that the dead young woman’s mother would be on the court, and added: “She wanted to give a sign through the choice of outfit to underline how sad she was over the loss of her partner. She is very ashamed of what happened.”
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), a food-borne illness caused by eating reef fish contaminated with toxins, can lead to physical symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and dizziness but also to mental symptoms such as hallucinations.
Despite Jennifer Z. seeking medical help, the four or five doctors she visited on a daily basis could not help her as she complained of imagined symptoms including syphilis, the plague and poisoning.
Hofmann said that it made Jennifer Z. think that ‘the doctors had conspired against her together with the pharmaceutical industry”.
This feeling only grew worse over time with Jennifer Z. even thinking that her loved ones wanted to poison her, resulting in this regulation which had been carried out for around three-and-a-half minutes.
Although the Viennese court did determine that Jennifer Z. was not responsible for her actions and decided not to pursue murder charges, they found her a danger to society after the psychiatrist confirmed that she
could kill again.
The judge ordered Jennifer Z. to be detained into a special institute for mentally disturbed offenders until she was deemed fit to release.
Hofmann said: “We do not yet know how stable her condition is, and she may still have symptoms. The time to judge whether she is safe to release is not yet.”