Kosovan killer of teacher hanged himself

The man who confessed to killing his daughter’s teacher at a St Gallen school committed suicide, authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

This content was published on November 24, 2010 - 16:02 and agencies

On Friday, 52-year-old Ded Gecaj was found dead in a St Gallen prison cell shortly before 7am. He hanged himself with a strip of material made from his clothes.

The involvement of another party could be ruled out, the investigating authorities said in a statement.

However, investigations are continuing, to determine whether the conditions in which he was detained played a role in his death. Gecaj had repeatedly criticised the prison conditions.

He had been under medical supervision and had last seen his doctor four days before he died. The doctor had found him to be well. He was last seen alive at about 7pm on the evening before his death.

Gecaj was accused of killing teacher Paul Spirig in 1999. His daughter had told Spirig that Gecaj was sexually abusing her, and the teacher attempted to intervene with the family, provoking Gecaj’s anger.

After the killing, Gecaj fled to his homeland of Kosovo, then still part of Serbia, where a court sentenced him to four years for manslaughter after he confessed to the crime. He was freed two years later.

He was re-arrested in May on the basis of a request from the St Gallen authorities, who wanted to try him for murder rather than manslaughter, as well as on charges of sexually abusing his daughter.

Kosovo cooperated with the Swiss Justice Office and Gecaj was extradited from Kosovo to Switzerland in September this year.

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