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CRIME

German ‘Black Widow’ murderer jailed for life

After a four and a half month trial, the woman known to Germany as the "Black Widow" was handed a life sentence for her role in the murder of four elderly men on Thursday.

German 'Black Widow' murderer jailed for life
The 'Black Widow,' Lydia L., in the court room. Photo: DPA

The district court in Göttingen found the 69-year-old former prostitute Lydia L. guilty of persuading her accomplice, 53-year-old Siggi S., to kill the four men to take their money between 1994 and 2000.

Siggi S. received a 12-year sentence for three murders and one case of manslaughter. He was spared a life sentence because the judge said he was learning disabled and psychologically dependent on Lydia L.

The “Black Widow” found each man in dating ads and made them believe she was planning a future with them. Instead she drugged them with pills and had Siggi S. stab them and dispose of the bodies. She married one of the victims and had continued receiving a widow’s pension throughout the trial.

Lydia L. maintained that she was innocent throughout the trial, and her lawyer insisted that she was unaware of Siggi S.’s actions.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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