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Bridge murder suspect sentenced to life

A Lower Saxony court has sentenced a man to life in prison for throwing a chunk of wood from a motorway bridge, killing a mother of two who was riding in a car below.

Bridge murder suspect sentenced to life
Photo: DPA

The 31-year-old defendant, Nikolai H., was found guilty of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and dangerous interference with traffic on Wednesday.

On March 23, 2008, Nikolai H. threw a six-kilogramme piece of wood from a bridge over the A29 motorway near Oldenburg out of what he said was “general frustration.” The wood broke through the windshield of a passing car, killing the 33-year-old woman in the passenger seat. Her husband and children were not harmed in the accident.

Nikolai H., who has been described a “seriously addicted to drugs,” was arrested in May 2008 and confessed to the crime, though he later retracted his statements.

Mobile phone records show he was on the bridge at the time of the murder, and authorities believe the wood came from near his home.

The judge expressed his empathy for the woman’s husband, telling him his calm reaction to the accident at the time saved him and his children in what he called a “gruesome, senseless crime.”

The defendant’s lawyer said he would appeal the case.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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