STA, 11 September 2020 - The young woman who cut off her hand at the beginning of last year to claim insurance, and her partner, who presumably put her up to it, were found guilty of insurance fraud at the Ljubljana District Court on Friday. They were given two and three years in prison, respectively.
Julija Adlešič and her partner Sebastien Abramov attracted a lot of media attention during the trial, including by allegedly getting engaged.
Abramov is also being tried as the suspected murderer of Sara Veber, who was his girlfriend at the time of her death in 2015 in what Abramov claims was a shooting accident.
He has been in custody throughout the trial, while Adlešič was sent into house arrest in May as the court found the chance of a repeat offence has decreased.
Abramov will remain in custody until the verdict becomes final, judge Marjeta Dvornik said, while Adlešič will no longer be in house arrest.
Both claimed throughout the trial they were innocent, and that Adlešič cut off her hand by accident while sawing off tree branches.
Abramov's father, Gorazd Colarič, who was accused of taking part in the scheme along with his wife, was also found guilty and got a one-year suspended sentence on two-year probation. Abramov's mother Tinka Huskić Colarič was found not guilty.
"We believe the sentences are fair and appropriate, and will serve their purpose," the judge said today, noting that the ruling had been made based on evidence and not anyone's appearances.
Adlešič attended the court hearings in flashy outfits, with the defence claiming that a young woman wanting to look attractive was not capable of causing such harm to her body on purpose.
Abramov made life and accident insurance policies for Adlešič with five insurance companies at the end of 2018. In January 2019, when the insurance was valid and the first instalments paid, Adlešič cut off her left hand just above the wrist with a circular saw at Colarič's home.
Only days later, the four suspects filed damages claims with the five insurance companies. But they did not receive any money, as police already started investigating the case.
If the police had not interfered, Adlešič would have received EUR 1.2m in damages and several hundred thousand euro in monthly rent.
The panel of judges agreed that the prosecution's case was solid and that the evidence against the three prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Huskić Colarič was found not guilty because of insufficient evidence.
The defence announced an appeal today, with Abramov's lawyer Mitja Pavčič speaking of "human rights violations". He said that despite being found guilty his client was "extremely pleased that his mother was found not guilty and that Julija was released from house arrest, but he is disappointed with the conviction."
Adlešič's lawyer, Boris Grobelnik, said his client was happy that she was no longer in house arrest. He said the measure was disproportionate, having lasted 18 months, given that there were no danger she would repeat the offence.
Colarič's lawyer Peter Prus Pipuš said the appeal would focus on the fact that the charges against his client were aggravated during the trial, which ran contrary to the principle that the indictment must not be changed to the damage of the defendant during a court procedure.
The prosecution had demanded four years and six months for Adlešič, five years for Abramov, four for Huskić Colarič and one year for Colarič.