Seles' attacker is a `crazed fanatic'

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The Independent Online
Gunther Parche, the man who stabbed Monica Seles two years ago, was a "politically crazed fanatic" who hated Serbs, her lawyer said yesterday.

Parche was given a suspended sentence after his first trial for the stabbing of Seles in April, 1993 that took the former No 1 player out of competitive tennis.

The decision triggered an uproar, and the prosecution won a retrial. The prosecutors want a two year and nine months sentence for Parche; the defence wants the original suspended sentence.Sentencing is set for Monday.

Parche told police after his arrest that he stabbed Seles during a match to open the way for Steffi Graf to become the world No 1. He also said it would hurt the "evil" Serbs.

Seles is an ethnic Hungarian born in Serbia, part of former Yugoslavia. She has since become a US citizen.

"Steffi Graf was the embodiment of the empire of good, Monica Seles the embodiment of the empire of evil," Gerhard Strate, one of Seles' lawyers, told the court in a final argument characterising Parche's attack.

"This was not the deed of a loving fan. It was the deed of a politically crazed fanatic," he said.

Strate wants Parche convicted of attempted manslaughter, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years. Prosecutors, however, are asking only for conviction on a charge of causing grievous bodily injury.

Parche's defence lawyer, Otmar Kury, emphasised that Parche was a simple man "with limited vocabulary and limited intelligence''.

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