• Germany's news in English
 

Mayor convicted of faking arson attack

Published: 14 Nov 2012 08:50 GMT+01:00

Prosecutors accused Rickenbach mayor Norbert Moosmann and his partner of fraud and faking a crime, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday. While Moosmann's defence team condemned what it calls a biased investigation tainted by a "climate of prejudice."

But Judge Bernhard Seyffert was convinced of the pair's guilt, saying that though the motive could not be precisely defined, "because of his unstable psychological situation, the mayor apparently wanted to present himself as the victim." Moosmann's unnamed partner was fined €4,500 for his part in the crime.

Moosmann greeted the verdict with a vigorous shake of the head, Der Spiegel wrote. "I am shocked," the 41-year-old told the court. "I am innocent. And I expected the court to end this intrigue against me."

Moosmann told authorities he was sitting alone in his office on Sunday, July 3, 2011, when a bottle filled with methylated spirits was hurled through an open window. He alerted police at 8:13pm.

A note found in the lobby of the Rickenbach town hall read, "Moosi, tired of living? We don't need you as mayor! For the last time: Get lost! Or you'll be blown up!"

Authorities said the bottle turned out to be a fake Molotov cocktail, but he refused to return to the town hall, saying he feared for his life.

Moosmann was elected mayor of Rickenbach in February 2007. At first, residents saw the former postal service employee as a promising new start for the community. But just months later, the honeymoon was over. Der Spiegel said Moosmann became increasingly unpopular with members of the local council, who criticised his gruff tone and go-it-alone mentality.

The mayor's decision in 2008 to move in with his partner, who lived about 90 kilometres away, further poisoned Moosmann's ties with his constituents.

The next year, the mayor spent months on sick leave due to heart troubles - though rumours spread in Rickenbach that Moosmann was actually skiving off.

The spirit of ill will between the mayor and Rickenbach's residents continued to spread in the months that followed - and in 2010, the town hall received a package addressed to Moosmann that contained a dead mouse lying in a blob of ketchup.

The mayor checked himself into a medical centre complaining of "severe post-traumatic stress disorder" - saying he felt he was being bullied - and did not return to work until July 2011, just two days before the alleged arson attempt.

Der Spiegel said investigators are convinced that Moosmann planted both the bottle and letter himself. They also claim the mayor's partner barricaded the door to make it appear as if Moosmann had been trapped inside his office.

Prosecutors say surveillance footage proves that a car rented under the mayor's name had stopped in front of city hall at 8pm on the day of the supposed attack. The driver apparently entered the building and left just two minutes later.

According to the prosecution, Moosmann stood to benefit from faking the arson attempt. If the mayor were able to prove he was unfit for work due to a job-related accident, they said, he would be entitled to a bigger monthly pension.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

22:37 November 19, 2012 by Reltih
Just another angry, militant homosexual who is going to show the World how intolerant everyone is by faking a bias crime.

The fake crimes seem to outnumber the real crimes by about 5-1.

It seems so odd that people who receive sexual gratification from human feces would behave in a crazy fashion.
Today's headlines
Interior ministry bans Salafist group
Thomas de Maizière. Photo: DPA

Interior ministry bans Salafist group

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière ordered the dissolving of salafist organisation Tauhid Germany on Thursday, saying that the group radicalized youth and encouraged them to travel to Syria to fight for Isis. READ  

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims
MPs in the Bundestag (German parliament) fall silent for a minute before beginning the day's work. Photo: DPA

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims

Germans again took a few moments on Thursday to remember those killed in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 plane crash on Tuesday. READ  

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland by plane. Photo: DPA

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany

Germany received one of the highest numbers of Ukrainian asylum seekers in Europe last year, according to data released last week by Eurostat and analyzed by The Local. READ  

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty
Narendra Modi. Photo: DPA

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty

Speaking to the The Local ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany next month, Amnesty International warned that his poor record on human rights must factor into the talks. READ  

Alps plane crash
Höwedes takes focus off football
Photo: DPA

Höwedes takes focus off football

Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes held up a sign in memory of children from his home town killed in the Germanwings plane crash before a friendly against Australia on Wednesday night. READ  

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne
Alexander Gerst and Mayor of Cologne Jürgen Roters. Photo: Stadt Köln

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne

German astronaut Alexander Gerst visited the Cologne city hall on Wednesday to present a special gift – a stone from the city's famous cathedral that he'd taken into space with him. READ  

Germanwings crash
Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims
A German flag flying at half mast at the Bundestag (German parliament) Photo: DPA

Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims

Flags flew at half mast across Germany on Wednesday in memory of the people killed in Tuesday's crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Business confidence hits 8-month high

Business confidence hits 8-month high

German business confidence rose to its highest level in eight months in March, as optimism continues to grow about the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday. READ  

Germanwings crash
German cops, lawyers join crash probe
Photo: DPA

German cops, lawyers join crash probe

State prosecutors from Düsseldorf and federal police forensics experts are on their way to France to join in the investigation into crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row
Debra Milke at a press conference in Pheonix on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row

A Berlin-born woman who spent 25 years in a US jail accused of participating in the murder of her son spoke publicly about her experience on Tuesday, the first time since her release. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
National
Germanwings co-pilot was 'locked out of cockpit' before crash
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,137
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd