Monday 24 June 2019

Irish physicist sentenced to seven years for axe attack on Portuguese professor

Dublin man Paul Gloster outside court in Portugal
Dublin man Paul Gloster outside court in Portugal Newsdesk Newsdesk

An Irish physicist found guilty of attempted murder was sentenced to seven years and seven months in a psychiatric hospital in Portugal.

Colin Gloster (37), from Co Meath, had denied trying to kill a female professor with a hatchet at the University of Coimbra on August 4, 2014, after a row over a terminated scholarship, worth around €5,000.

The accused was also ordered to pay damages of €50,000 to Professor Maria Filomena Figueiredo, who suffered injuries to her left arm and right hand when she shielded herself in the 2014 attack.

During the trial the former doctoral student, who suffers from autism, said he was "desperate, broke, hungry and afraid of becoming homeless".

"I aimed the hatchet at one of her arms. In an ideal situation, I wouldn't use the hatchet, but reality isn't ideal.

"I never tried to kill," he said.

Gloster's father John, a retired psychologist, was unable to comment when reached by phone last night.

Clinical psychologist Pedro Alves told the court that Gloster's actions could be attributed to Asperger's syndrome and that the defendant was not "conscious of his actions".

Gloster attended primary school in Ashbourne, before attending Pobalscoil Rosmini, Grace Park Road, Drumcondra.

The academic, who studied at Dublin City University, previously served an internship at the European Space Agency and was a researcher at the University of Pisa, Italy.

He came to Coimbra with a scholarship in 2008.

Irish Independent

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