Aachen jailbreak convicts imprisoned for life

Aachen jailbreak convicts imprisoned for life
Photo: DPA
The two men who escaped from an Aachen prison in 2009 sparking a desperate police manhunt have been sentenced to long prison terms. They will likely spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Michael Heckhoff, 52, was sentenced to ten years in prison by a court on Wednesday, while co-conspirator Peter Paul Michalski, 47, was given a jail term of ten years and six months.

The two had been charged with kidnapping, blackmail and hostage-taking.

The court also ruled that they be kept in preventive detention after having served their sentences, which means the two will probably die in custody.

The former prison guard who helped the two escape in Nov. 2009 from the maximum-security facility near the western German city of Aachen was given a sentence of four years and three months.

Prosecutors had asked that Heckhoff be given a 12-year sentence and Michalski 13 years. They had also demanded the former prison guard receive a sentence of seven years.

Germany held its collective breath for five days during which convicted murderer Michalski and Heckhoff, who was serving time for hostage-taking, led police on nationwide manhunt, during which they took hostages and broke into a villa. No one was injured during the chase.

The men confessed their crimes in front of the Aachen court although in a final statement said that poor conditions in the Aachen facility had driven them to escape. The two said the prison was merely a place where inmates were “stored” and the outlook for the future there was bleak.

DPA/The Local/kdj

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