Construction worker confesses in Cologne archive collapse case

Eleven months after the deadly collapse of Cologne’s city archive, a construction worker has given investigators their first confession in the case, media reports said on Tuesday.

Construction worker confesses in Cologne archive collapse case
Photo: DPA

The archive collapsed on March 3, 2009 killing two men in a neighbouring building and destroying scores of precious historic documents.

The city has since opened an investigation into what caused the accident and has raided the offices of construction companies involved in building a metro line underneath the building.

Click here for a photo gallery of the incident.

Now according to local daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, a construction worker on the metro line has admitted that his foreman intentionally used fewer steel reinforcements at the site of the accident. The unused metal allegedly went to scrap dealers, the paper said.

The worker’s statements have been substantiated by a further witness, though they were denied by the foreman, according to the paper. State prosecutors working on the case refused to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

There is also evidence that protocols for the work site may have been falsified, the paper said.

In June 2009 experts said they had recovered 85 percent of the archive’s documents and were amazed by how many had survived the devastating accident.

The documents, which date back as far as 1,000 years, were in varying states when rescue workers pulled them from the archive rubble, but less than one-quarter had been torn apart. Experts have since been working to piece them back together using software that was developed to restore shredded documents from the East German secret police, the Stasi.

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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.