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Polish suicide-bid officer 'faced death threats'

A military prosecutor who shot himself in the head at the end of a press conference said yesterday that he tried to kill himself to protect the honour of his profession after being hounded by accusations and threats.

Colonel Mikolaj Przybyl shot himself on Monday after cutting short a news conference at which he railed against media attacks on military prosecutors and their investigation into leaks of an inquiry into the air crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski in 2010.

Colonel Przybyl told the Polish state news agency PAP that he had faced threats during past investigations, and was finally driven to attempt suicide by accusations of wrongdoing. He did not say who was behind the threats.

"There was a million zloty (£185,000) bounty on my head. They killed my dog," he said. "I could not deal with the attacks related with accusations of illegal actions."

He survived the suicide attempt because he was interrupted by one of the journalists he had ushered out of his office only moments earlier. "I wanted to commit suicide, but I aimed badly because somebody tried to enter the room," Colonel Przybyl said, adding: "I was aiming too quickly."

Colonel Przybyl, who shot himself through the cheek, said he had stood by his office window to prevent a ricochet hurting others. Asked how he felt, Colonel Przybyl said: "As if I had been shot."