Man cuts off finger over debt dispute


A Portugese man so upset that a judge refused his offer to settle a 170,000 euro debt cut off one of his fingers in court with a butcher's knife in an "act of despair," according to a Reuters story.

I've heard of being despondent over debts, but this is far out there.

The Lisbon judge told Orico Silva that some of his 50-acre farm must be sold in the central town of Figueira da Foz after Silva was sued by a company for holding onto a cash deposit on a land deal that fell through, a local newspaper reported.

Silva said he "freaked out" when the judge refused his offer to pay the debt and ordered that part of his land be sold. He told the judge he had a $1.2 million euro bank guarantee to pay the debt.

Somehow, Silva got into the courthouse with a butcher's knife that he had recently bought at a market in his briefcase. He noticed the knife when he looked in the briefcase for his bank papers. He then cut off his index finger, using the court desk as a chopping board. He then cut the finger into three, Reuters reported.

"My intention was to tear up all the case papers and splatter them with blood so I could prevent the expropriation order for my land," Silva said.

"I didn't feel anything," he said. I could even have cut off all my fingers. It was an act of despair."