'Piano Man' lawyers in Germany say their client is mentally ill
CHAM, Germany -- Lawyers for the mysterious "Piano Man" who turned up on a British beach four months ago said their client was mentally ill and had not faked his symptoms.
Two attorneys on Tuesday identified the young man, who began speaking to doctors on Friday after months of silence, as Andreas Grassl, 20, from the southern German village of Prosdorf, near the Czech border. They declined to say where Grassl was at the moment.
Christian Baumann, one of two attorneys representing the young man, told reporters his client was suffering from a severe depression when he was found wandering on a beach in southern England on April 7, soaking wet, distraught and unable or unwilling to talk. Baumann denied media reports that the months of silence had been staged.
Grassl began speaking Friday to doctors at West Kent National Health Service and Social Care Trust, where he was being treated. He flew home to Germany the following day.
Some British papers had reported the man couldn't play the piano at all, but sat and picked at the same key over and over.
Baumann said that Grassl, although self-taught, was a proficient musician.
"He didn't speak, but he certainly did play piano," the attorney said.
After Grassl was found, the British media jumped on the story, reporting that the man was an accomplished pianist and likened the case of the "Piano Man" to the Oscar-winning 1996 movie "Shine," about acclaimed pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.
The attorneys declined to comment on reports that Grassl had been contemplating suicide when he was found, or that he had lost his job in Paris, saying only that the young man had worked in the French capital.
Villagers from Prosdorf told local media they hadn't recognized pictures of the man broadcast internationally at the time he was found because he had changed his hairstyle and was not wearing his glasses. (AP)Agencias:
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