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Father jailed for starving daughter to death

A Bavarian man was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Thursday for collaborating with his wife to deliberately starve their three-year-old daughter to death.

Father jailed for starving daughter to death
Photo: DPA

A court in Nuremberg sentenced the 30-year-old truck driver from the Thalmässing district of Bavaria for murder by neglect and abuse.

The court said the man, Patrick R., had gone along with his overbearing, dominant wife in allowing the couple’s daughter, Sarah, to starve because he was too weak to stand up to her.

He had fully understood that his daughter was dying and had taken care not to help her, the sentencing judge said. The judge added that the man could have saved Sarah by taking her to a doctor but had avoided doing so, the judge said.

“This case has barely left anyone unaffected,” the judge said. Sarah’s suffering had been “deeply shocking and moving.”

“What kind of parents are these, who let their child starve in front of their eyes?” he asked.

Sarah died of cardiopulmonary failure in a Nuremberg hospital on August 10, 2009. She was by then emaciated and dehydrated to the point of being skeletal.

The trial of the mother, who is seriously ill from cancer, has been put on hold.

Sarah’s slow death began at the time of her mother’s dramatic weight loss in April 2009. The mother, who had weighed 120 kilograms, lost 50 kilograms within four months – partly by her choice but also partly because she had cancer, though she didn’t know that at the time.

She gave up looking after her daughter around this time. By Sarah’s third birthday in May 2009, she was showing clear signs of malnutrition. Sarah’s father had also been aware of this. Rather than looking after the girl himself when he was home from work as a truck driver, Patrick R. had gone along with his wife and helped hide Sarah at home.

“The reason for this behaviour, in our view, was fear,” the judge said. The woman, who already had two children from her first marriage, had worried someone would report Sarah’s malnutrition to authorities.

So the couple hid the girl in their room and deflected questions from friends and relatives.

The judge stressed that the mother had clearly been the instigator of the girl’s neglect. She had made the decision to let Sarah starve in order to cover up her earlier neglect. It had also been her idea to hide the girl.

But Patrick R. had helped her. And in the end, his daughter had had no meaning for him, the judge said.

DAPD/The Local

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CRIME

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

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