• 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
EU investigates Germany over airport security
Photo: DPA

EU investigates Germany over airport security

The European Commission said on Thursday that it had referred Germany to the EU Court of Justice for failing to regularly check up on its airport security measures at some airports. READ  

Germans want to keep their hands on cash
Germans still trust cash over other forms of payment. Photo: DPA

Germans want to keep their hands on cash

Confirming conservative stereotypes, Germans have come out strongly in favour of sticking to hard cash in conducting transactions, a survey published on Thursday showed. READ  

This week in history
Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible
Rainer Fassbinder on set in 1977. Photo: DPA

Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible

On Sunday May 31st, Rainer Weiner Fassbinder, one of the most influential German film directors, would have turned 70 - had it not been for his death at the age of 37 in 1982. The Local takes a look back at the life and work of the enfant terrible of New German Cinema. READ  

Cool caps reduce hair loss during chemo
Photo: DPA

Cool caps reduce hair loss during chemo

German scientists are trialling a special scalp-cooling cap which helps reduce hair loss for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. READ  

Industry: 'doped' growth boosting economy
A man assembling food processors in a Wuppertal factory. Photo: DPA

Industry: 'doped' growth boosting economy

The German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) warned on Thursday that a fresh burst of economic confidence might be unfounded, even as they raised their growth projections for 2015. READ  

Slow-moving fighter jet blocks Autobahn traffic
A Eurofighter jet stopped up traffic on Thursday because it was so wide. Photo: DPA.

Slow-moving fighter jet blocks Autobahn traffic

A damaged Eurofighter plane being pulled by a truck along the autobahn was so wide that it blocked three lanes of traffic on its way to being repaired in Bavaria on Thursday, drawing the ire of fellow drivers. READ  

Right-wing leader suffers restaurant attack
AfD co-leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Right-wing leader suffers restaurant attack

Frauke Petry, co-leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD), was attacked by masked assailants while eating in a restaurant on Wednesday evening. READ  

Court rejects case against US drone strikes
An American MQ-9 "Reaper" unmanned drone. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Paul Ridgeway/dpa

Court rejects case against US drone strikes

A German court on Wednesday rejected a complaint by three Yemenis demanding that Berlin bar Washington from using a US base on its territory to operate deadly drones. READ  

Gay marriage: Germany still says 'No'
A gay couple in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Gay marriage: Germany still says 'No'

Germany's cabinet on Wednesday approved a raft of draft measures to extend the rights of same-sex couples, but faced criticism for allowing only civil unions, not full gay marriage. READ  

Spectre of Greece haunts G7 Dresden meeting
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble welcomes his G7 colleagues to Dresden. Photo: DPA

Spectre of Greece haunts G7 Dresden meeting

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven wealthiest nations gathered in Dresden Thursday to discuss the global economy and tax evasion, but the Greek crisis was also high on everyone's minds. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,698
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd