A 23-year-old man with a history of serious mental illness beat his grandmother to death in Kavala, northern Greece, in what appears to have been a drawn-out assault that local authorities say was “expected.”
“It was an expected. We knew that things would not end well,” the president of the village where the young man lived with his 83-year-old grandmother told state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.
“There was trouble every so often that demanded a response from the police, and we sent people over from the Help at Home program a few times, but they were turned away, both by the deceased and by the perpetrator,” said Dimosthenis Dalkaranis, the president of Chrysochori, referring to the municipal outreach program that provides assistance for the elderly and infirm at their homes.
According to local media, the 23-year-old had also been arrested and warned by the police several times over the years for drug-related and other offences.
The 23-year-old is believed to have attacked his grandmother late on Sunday night, striking her repeatedly and violently in an assault that may have lasted several hours. He reportedly confessed to hitting her when he was arrested by police on Monday morning.
The police had been summoned by a local undertaker who said he had received a call from the 23-year-old telling him an implausible story that his grandmother had died from a fall in her home.
The 83-year-old woman’s body showed signs of extensive injuries that were more consistent with a physical assault than an accident, though a forensic pathologist still has to determine the exact cause of death.
“Social Services had removed the 23-year-old from the house twice in the past couple of years and took him to a psychiatric facility, but he was released shortly after on both occasions and allowed to go back home,” Dalkaranis said.
“We had advised her,” he added, referring to the elderly woman who lived alone with the 23-year-old after his mother left the family several years ago and his father, who also reportedly suffers from mental health problems, moved out of the main house and into a remote shed in the garden.
It was not clear on Tuesday morning whether the 23-year-old had been taken to prison or to a psychiatric facility.