A gunman who shot down three security guards and was paralysed in a police shootout may never face trial after volunteering for euthanasia.
Marin Eugen Sabau shot three workers at the Securitas site on Tarragona, Spain, seven months ago in revenge for being sacked.
Then he gunned down a police officer as he fled but was finally shot by an elite police group member.
Even though all four victims survived, Sabau would normally be looking at a substantial jail sentence.
But he has used Spain’s controversial new euthanasia law to apply to be put to death before he can face trial.
Sabau, 46 was left with severe spinal injuries that left him paraplegic.
He also had a leg amputated and claims to be partially paralysed in one hand.
Now a judge has agreed “not to interrupt” Sabau’s application for euthanasia after hearing how difficult his life has become.
Sabau has been in the Terrassa Penitentiary Hospital ever since and was due to go on trial facing charges of attempted murder, illegal weapons possession and armed assault.
His application for euthanasia was opposed by public prosecutors who demanded the right to a trial for Sabau’s victims who suffered appalling injuries in the point-blank shootings.
Lawyer Jose Antonio Bitos, who represents the wounded police officer, said that the victims had a right “to have the facts judged and obtain a sentence”.
He added: “A murderer, or attempted murderer in this case, should not be able to avoid either trial or conviction through euthanasia.”
The decision to introduce euthanasia into Spain had been massively opposed by the Catholic Church but was approved after supporting the country from an estimated 80 per cent of Spaniards.
The law that was passed came into force in June last year.
It made Spain one of the few countries to legalise euthanasia, which can be requested by adults with serious and incurable illnesses with intolerable physical or mental suffering, always with the endorsement of a commission of doctors and lawyers.
In his appeal to be euthanised, Sabau said he is not only paraplegic and paralysed from the waist down but also in great pain.
He told the court: “I have 45 stitches in hand. I can’t move my left arm well. I have screws and I don’t feel my chest”.
The judge in the case, Judge Sonia Zapater was asked to decide whether his right to suicide based on his serious health condition outweighed society’s right to a trial.
She decided that the suspect’s right to “dignity” and his individual freedom outweighed the right of society to a trial.