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Court: Jeweller shot teen in 'self-defence'
Photo: DPA

Court: Jeweller shot teen in 'self-defence'

Published: 12 Sep 2012 16:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Sep 2012 16:39 GMT+02:00

A 67-year-old German jeweller was spared prison on Wednesday despite killing a teenager who held up her shop. A regional court ruled that shooting the intruder in the back of the head was self-defence.

The woman, who has not been named, heard in court on Wednesday that she was not guilty of manslaughter and would not be going to prison. Instead she would receive an eight month suspended sentence for denial of medical assistance to the fatally wounded 18-year-old and for breaching the country's weapons law.

The man entered the shop in Wetterau, Hesse, in July 2011 wearing a mask. He held an unloaded air gun and demanded money.

The woman went into a back room, where she had a hidden revolver, and shot him from a distance. The bullet hit the teen in the back of the head.

Prosecutors said they saw no case for self-defence, arguing that if it had been, she would have fired a warning shot or shot him in the leg.

But the judge at the Gießen regional court in Hesse said she could not have known that his gun was not loaded and that the woman was clearly affected by the incident.

“I was holding the weapon in my hand and suddenly it fired,” she told the judge, an incident that her defence called “purely accidental.” The court gave her a suspended sentence for failing to alert the emergency services quickly enough, and instead ringing her husband.

Initially the woman told the police that the robber's accomplice had shot him, which was found to be a lie.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:40 September 12, 2012 by stauderfan
fire a warning shot or shoot in the leg? are you nuts?? here in the states we shoot twice... once to bring the fool down and another to keep the fool down!! toy or not, he got what he deserved!
17:42 September 12, 2012 by lucksi
No surveilance video? Surely a jewelry store should have a system.

And I sooo do not agree with that ruling. If the woman already illegally had a gun, that makes her a worse criminal in my eyes than the robber.

And self defense my ass. She couldn't know that the robber had a fake gun, so why did she get hers and "accidentaly" shot him? Was her original plan to go out of the back room and shoot him when he was looking at her?
19:36 September 12, 2012 by pjnt
Shot in the leg? That is funny! Guns are meant to take a person down and stop them from getting back up. However, why didn't she just close the back room door, lock it and call the police?
20:06 September 12, 2012 by ATM
This store owner is in her store trying to make a living. This idiot comes in with a gun to takes something by threat or force. The storeowner reacts by getting a weapon to protect herself. This guy got what he deserved. There should have never been a court case. I would like to buy this woman a drink for taking care of business.
21:33 September 12, 2012 by marimay
'I was holding the weapon in my hand and it suddenly fired"

Oh, it's one of those guns with a mind of its own.
04:03 September 13, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
A just decision.
05:21 September 13, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Several things come to mind. Shooting an armed person in the leg does not mean that they will be incapacitated or disarmed. She had no way of knowing that the robbers gun was and unloaded air gun. She has the right to defend herself under German law (German law, not what would be allowed in America). HOWEVER, all of this is negated by the fact that he held an ILLEGAL weapon for the very purpose of being used in the event of a robbery. I would lay money on the table that granny knew dam well what she had in her hand and how to use it. She is playing the frail old lady card saying the big nasty gun just went of in her hands.
08:12 September 13, 2012 by schneebeck
"Initially the woman told the police that the robber's accomplice had shot him, which was found to be a lie."

So this is probably a lie also:

¦quot;I was holding the weapon in my hand and suddenly it fired,¦quot;

Either way, she was right to defend herself.
08:34 September 13, 2012 by rfwilson
@ stauderfan'

fire a warning shot or shoot in the leg? are you nuts?? here in the states we shoot twice... once to bring the fool down and another to keep the fool down!! toy or not, he got what he deserved!

Yes, and "here in the states", you have actually believe this sort of juvenile rubbish, you have FAR too many weapons, and as someone once said, a space-age nation with a frontier mentality.
08:36 September 13, 2012 by bhess
@lucksi

You have to look at these kind of incidents also as to who was the bigger threat? Isn't an 18yr old male robber with a gun a big threat to a 67 yr old woman? Isn't it reasonable that she was in fear for her life? Are 67 yr old women not allowed to defend themselves? Unless you have been in her shoes you cannot know the fear she was in. Also her statement about that the gun just fired is consistent with happens to even train law enforcement officers. Under the threat to life you are under a great deal of stress and in the moment it can kind effect memory. Officers many times don't realize how many times they fired in those events.

Also nothing in the article speaks to her familiarity of shooting. A revolver is a fairly simple weapon to operate. I'd be suprised if she had fired it more than once.
09:10 September 13, 2012 by lucksi
@bhess: If she was able to retreat to get her gun, then the self defense pretty much goes out the window.

She, or rather her store, was just getting robbed. If I can get away from the robbers or just lose some wares which the insurance pays for, I sure as hell would not risk my life trying to take down a robber.

And the first time I fired a rifle, for me that thing also went of suddenly.

"Officers many times don't realize how many times they fired in those events"

Uhum, yes, US cops. One of them opens fire, they all shoot until the guns are empty. In a single "justified" shooting by cops on someone armed with merly a knife, US cops use up more bullets than all cops in the whole of Germany combined. And I wish I would be making this up.
10:47 September 13, 2012 by jg.
"If the woman already illegally had a gun, that makes her a worse criminal in my eyes than the robber."

Really? So, someone going about their business, trying to earn a living legally but who happens to own a firearm without the relevant permit is a worse criminal than someone who wears a mask to rob people at gunpoint. I don't think so - and neither do the courts. Armed robbery is clearly in a different league to owning a gun without a permit.
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