Police say opera singer hid death of missing fisherman husband

An opera singer is being held by police suspected of being involved in the death of her fisherman husband and masterminding a complicated cover-up plot worthy of a decent libretto.

Police say opera singer hid death of missing fisherman husband
Fishermen at the nearby Taubergießen nature reserve Photo: DPA

The woman is thought to have searched for men to impersonate her husband, dress in his clothes and be made up to look like him for a visit to a law office to sign papers handing control of their finances to her.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the case, known to Baden-Württemberg police as the ‘diva and the fisherman,’ came to light at the end of last week when the woman was arrested, suspected of fraud and manslaughter.

Yet detectives have no body to show that her husband, named only as Hermann H., is dead.

The 71-year-old fisherman and fish breeder was registered missing at the end of October when a man who rented a flat from him called police to say he had not seen him for several months.

His opera singer wife, who has not been named, was extremely unwilling to help investigating officers at all, the paper reported. A police spokesman said, “During further investigation, the circumstances surrounding the disappearances became increasingly ominous.”

Police conducted repeated searches of the couple’s flat in the small village of Kappel-Grafenhausen, around 40 kilometres north of Freiburg.

While this was going on, the woman went a lawyer’s office with an elderly man who said he was her husband. The lawyer arranged a meeting with the police to demonstrate that Hermann H. was alive and in the best of health.

Detectives who arrived to see the evidence were disappointed though, as the singer failed to show up, saying her husband had suddenly gone on a cruise.

She then visited a notary with a man identifying himself as her husband, and signed papers to give her power of attorney over all his assets.

The doppelgänger has since admitted his role to police, saying he had sat for a make-up artist to work from a photo of the missing man, to make him look as similar as possible, before the trip to the notary.

Investigators are now following around 250 clues to try to unravel what they are convinced is the opera singer’s lengthy concealment of her husband’s death.

She allegedly sought people who would confirm to the authorities they had seen her husband, as well as having approached a number of men to ask them to pose as him for the trip to the notary.

She was arrested last Thursday and is being held in custody, where she has refused to make a statement, the paper said.

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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.