• 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
School hotpants ban sparks online debate
Photo: DPA

School hotpants ban sparks online debate

A school's decision to ban hot pants for girls during the July heatwave has sparked anger online, with feminist activists decrying the decision as sexist. READ  

Greece crisis
Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit
Over 60 percent of Greeks voted 'No' in the referendum. Photo: DPA

Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a eurozone summit on Tuesday to discuss new Greek reform proposals, Greek government sources said. READ  

Students fight for life after chimney plunge
The Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (Academy of Arts). Photo: DPA

Students fight for life after chimney plunge

Two students had to be rescued by fire services after falling 30 metres down a chimney at the the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts on Sunday night. READ  

Lion cub raised in living room leaves home
Zookeeper Isabelle Wallpott with Malor. Photo: DPA

Lion cub raised in living room leaves home

Malor has lived at home with a zookeeper in the Eifel mountains for the last five months. Now the little lion cub is about to be reintroduced to his mother. READ  

July heatwave
Bavarian town roasts in record temperatures
A farmer waters strawberries near Kitzingen in Lower Franconia. Photo: DPA

Bavarian town roasts in record temperatures

The small town of Kitzingen in Bavaria registered a new record temperature for Germany, as the mercury reached 40.3 C on Sunday. READ  

Having kids later makes for a happy family
Children make us happy, but only up to a point. Photo: DPA

Having kids later makes for a happy family

Children are a blessing? Only for parents over a certain age, and then only up to a certain number, a study published by a German research institute shows. READ  

Greece crisis
How will Germany react to the Greek vote?
Angela Merkel has some more sleepless nights ahead of her. Photo: DPA

How will Germany react to the Greek vote?

Now that Greeks have voted against accepting tough austerity conditions in return for a fresh tranche of bailout cash, The Local asked Professor Michael Wohlgemuth of Open Europe Berlin how Chancellor Angela Merkel, other political leaders and the German public may respond. READ  

Post strike ends Monday as agreement reached
Photo: DPA

Post strike ends Monday as agreement reached

Public sector union Verdi has reached a final agreement with Deutsche Post after a strike that lasted four weeks, meaning postal service should return to normal starting on Tuesday. READ  

Women's World Cup
Löw defends Neid as critics circle after defeat
Silvia Neid congratulates England after Germany's 1-0 defeat. Photo: DPA

Löw defends Neid as critics circle after defeat

World Cup winning coach Joachim Löw defended his female counterpart Silvia Neid on Monday after Germany fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat to England in the third place play-off of the Women's World Cup. READ  

Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list
An eightfold composite picture of different views of the Chilehaus (Chile House) and the Sprinkenhof in Hamburg. Photo: EPA/Christian Charisius/dpa/picture alliance

Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list

The UN cultural agency on Sunday designated Hamburg's historic maritime warehouse and business districts, boasting early 20th century German brick architecture, as World Heritage sites. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
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

6,862
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd