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CRIME

Samurai sword killer flees hospital

Police are searching for a psychiatric patient who killed a woman in a church with a samurai sword and has subsequently run away during an excursion from a Baden-Württemberg hospital, media reported Wednesday.

Samurai sword killer flees hospital
The church where the rampage occurred. Photo: DPA

Ranjithakumar Vallipuram, now 30, killed one woman and seriously injured three other worshippers in 2005 during a rampage with a samurai sword and a knife at the Christ Church Zuffenhausen, on the northern outskirts of Stuttgart. The victims were members of the local Tamil community.

Vallipuram, a Tamil from Sri Lanka, has fled from a psychiatric hospital in Bad Schussenried to which he was committed by a Stuttgart court that found he could not be tried because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

He left on an unaccompanied outing on Saturday morning and did not return, daily Stuttgarter Zeitung reported.

“That is not good news,” a member of the Tamil community told the paper.

The hospital’s medical director, Heiner Missenhardt, said Vallipuram did not pose an acute danger because the symptoms of his mental illness “completely faded away” some time ago. The outing from the hospital had been approved, Missenhardt said.

He had one week’s worth of schizophrenia drugs with him when he left the hospital. But without the medication, it was possible that his symptoms would return, Missenhardt said.

He had been permitted unaccompanied outings from the hospital for the past year-and-a-half.

He is described as 1.79 metres tall, dark-skinned with black hair, dark eyes and a beard. At the time of his escape, he was wearing a green cargo jacket, blue jeans and black cap.

The police suspect he may have run away out of fear of being deported.

Missenhardt told the Stuttgarter Zeitung: “There was no deportation order, just an assessment by his lawyer that it soon could come to that.”

Vallipuram’s application for political asylum had been rejected before he carried out the rampage.

The Local/djw

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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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