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Police ram bike to nab fugitive from Aachen

Police on Tuesday apprehended convicted murderer Peter Paul Michalski after five days on the run following a dramatic escape from an Aachen maximum-security prison.

Police ram bike to nab fugitive from Aachen
Michalski. Photo: DPA

The armed and dangerous 46-year-old was overpowered by plainclothes police officers near the small town of Schermbeck near Düsseldorf around 10 am in the morning. They caught up with him while he was cycling down regional road B58 on a silver bike and rammed him into a ditch. No one was injured in the operation.

Michalski’s arrest ended an intense nationwide manhunt after he and his 50-year-old co-conspirator Michael Heckhoff broke out jail last Thursday. They hijacked two taxis, a 19-year-old student in her car, and a married couple in their escape efforts. None of their victims were injured, despite the two being described as brutally dangerous and erratic criminals.

Interior Minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said Tuesday’s arrest was a “brilliant success by the police” and thanked them for their service.

Both men had been serving life sentences without chance of parole at the Aachen prison. Heckhoff, who was captured on Sunday in Mülheim an der Ruhr, had been convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder. Michalski was serving out his sentence for the 1993 murder of a fellow robbery accomplice.

He narrowly escaped police capture on Monday by disappearing into a high-rise building, according to police.

On Sunday, police also arrested a prison guard on suspicion he helped in the escape of the two violent inmates from the maximum-security prison. The 40-year-old guard is thought to have helped the men get through locked areas and providing them with loaded prison service weapons as well as ammunition, according to statement by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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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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