The student, Colin Paul Gloster, attacked physics lecturer Maria Filomena Santos, who according to the Irish Mirror will “require reconstructive surgery as the axe cut very close to the tendons.”
Speaking of the Irish Mirror story, Gloster tells Retraction Watch that “the main point that I axed someone is true.” But, he adds:
I am not a monster and I am not unreasonable.
According to the Irish Mirror:
In one of his online postings, Colin claims that he applied for a first grant that year but he failed to obtain it.
He said that he paid over €3,000 in fees and was left penniless until a lawyer helped him get another, second scholarship from the Fundation for Science and Technology.
However, the physicist claims he was forced to drop out of his Phd in 2013 when this grant was cut and he could no longer afford to remain a student.
Mr Gloster wrote that the payments stopped the same year a doctor at the University Hospital of Coimbra diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.
He has repeatedly contested this diagnosis online.
A witness said that Colin was extremely agitated on Monday morning and threatened an employee of the university.
According to an onlooker, the Irishman was ranting about his scholarship and was clearly very upset about the grant being cut.
Around 3pm and 4pm, the attacker walked to the fourth floor of the Department of Physics and attacked Ms Santos in her office with an axe he had hidden in his clothing.
Gloster said the news story includes “many false facts,” including that he paid far more than €3,000 in fees, that the second scholarship was actually one from before he came to Coimbra that was cut off because he criticized a professor at another university, and that the University of Coimbra is “not a university.” Gloster also said he “did not have schizophrenia,” referring to a file of his medical records that he posted online.
Before the suspected attack on 4 August, the former student allegedly first entered the office of academic affairs and threatened staff with an axe. He is reported to have left before the police arrived, before later heading to the physics department.
The victim had no connection to Gloster’s cancelled grant, says the spokeswoman.
Gloster, who is active on a listserv devoted to science fraud, has left a number of comments on Retraction Watch unrelated to the incident over the past several months. We did not learn of the attack until this weekend, thanks to a comment left by another reader.