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CRIME

Winnenden shooter’s father faces court

The trial of the father of Tim Kretschmer, the teen who shot dead 15 people and himself in Winnenden last year, started Thursday in Stuttgart. He faces charges of violating weapons laws by leaving the gun used in the massacre unlocked in his bedroom.

Winnenden shooter's father faces court
Photo: DPA

In March 2009, the 17-year-old Kretschmer used his father’s 9mm Beretta pistol in a school shooting rampage that left nine pupils and three teachers dead, mostly with execution-style shots to the head. A further three people lost their lives in a dramatic chase and shoot-out with police before Kretschmer turned the gun on himself.

Baden-Württemberg state prosecutors charged Kretschmer’s father in November 2009 with 15 cases of negligent homicide and a further 13 cases of negligently causing injury, on the grounds that he had left the gun and ammunition unsecured in his bedroom. He legally kept more than a dozen weapons in the family home.

In May the Stuttgart court ruled that negligent homicide and injury charges could be considered only if the father’s conduct had directly caused the massacre.

The court decided it could not rule out the possibility that Kretschmer would also have committed the crime if the gun, magazine and ammunition had been properly secured in the weapons cabinet. There was substantial evidence that Kretschmer knew the security combination to the cabinet, it said.

However, on Thursday the prosecution said it would still push the court to consider charges of negligent manslaughter and negligent bodily harm, which many victims’ family members have said they want.

A lawyer for the co-plaintiffs said his clients were looking for the father to offer an unambiguous admission of his guilt.

“They want a clear apology, a clear acknowledgement of his mistake,” Jens Rabe told Stern magazine’s online edition.

Some relatives of those killed said the trial was not about settling scores but about discovering how much Tim’s parents knew about their son’s psychological problems.

“It is not about revenge,” said Hardy Schober, who lost his 15-year-old daughter in the bloodbath. “The truth must come to light, no matter how painful it is,” he told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

Gisela Mayer, the mother of one of the victims, told rolling news channel N24: “I want to see who he is, because I think he is also a father and he wanted to bring up a son, not a mass murderer.”

According to the court, there are 41 joint plaintiffs and 19 representatives taking part in the trial. Over the course of 27 days, the court will hear testimony from 40 witnesses, among them police officers, doctors, survivors and relatives of victims.

Several psychiatric and medical experts will also be called to testify.

DAPD/AFP/ka

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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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