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CRIME

Winnenden father found guilty of manslaughter

Nearly two years after a deadly school rampage in the southern German town of Winnenden, the father of the shooter was given a suspended sentence of one year and nine months because he failed to keep the gun used in the killings locked away.

Winnenden father found guilty of manslaughter
Photo: DPA

The 52-year-old Jörg Kretschmer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, bodily harm caused by negligence, and the negligent abandonment of a weapon.

The prosecution told the Stuttgart court that Kretschmer had failed to prevent his son Tim gaining access to the licensed weapon and its ammunition. The 17-year-old took the gun from his parents’ bedroom in March 2009 and killed 15 people at his former school, before committing suicide.

While some of the 43 joint plaintiffs called for a prison sentence of up to three years, state prosecutors demanded a two-year suspended sentence for the combined 28 counts of involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm caused by negligence, as well as violation of laws about storing guns.

The defence had called for their client to be acquitted on the grounds that he had already been punished enough by the situation. Kretschmer’s lawyer said afterwards he would appeal the decision, on the grounds that the Stuttgart court had previously reached another verdict on negligence with weapons.

Speaking before the court’s verdict, Hardy Schober, spokesman for the anti-gun lobby group Amoklauf Winnenden, said, “Even if it’s just for a quarter of a year, he must go to jail.” Schober lost his daughter in the massacre.

Afterwards, some of the relatives expressed disappointment with the severity of the sentence, though Schober said it was what he had expected. The mother of one of the teenagers killed said she could accept the verdict.

“The extent of the sentence is secondary,” said Jens Rabe, a lawyer for the joint plaintiffs. He said it was more important that the court send out a clear signal by sentencing Tim’s father for manslaughter, and not just for contravening gun laws.

Appearing in court last week, Kretschmer apologized and expressed his sympathy to the relatives of those killed. “I feel responsible for my son and for the mistakes I made,” he said.

DAPD/The Local/bk

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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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