Suspected serial killer admits to slaying 3 boys

Ten years after the murder of a nine-year-old child in Germany, police said Friday a man had confessed to killing him and two other boys and was suspected of further murders in France and the Netherlands.

Suspected serial killer admits to slaying 3 boys
Stefan J., Dennis R. and Dennis K. Photo: DPA

The 40-year-old German, who has worked as a youth leader and had already been questioned in the case four years ago, admitted to killing a nine-year-old boy called Dennis in 2001, as well as two other boys aged eight and 11 in the nine years before.

He also confessed to sexually abusing “several” minors.

After he was arrested on Wednesday the unnamed serial murder suspect told investigators in the northern city of Hamburg that he drove one of his victims to Denmark and buried his body in a sand dune on a beach.

Authorities in Verden, northern Germany told reporters he may have also killed an 11-year-old French boy, Jonathan Coulom, who disappeared from a camp in western France in April 2004 and whose body was recovered six weeks later.

He is also a prime suspect in the death of another boy, 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen, in 1998 in the Netherlands, although he has denied involvement in either case.

“We want to determine whether we are aware of all of this man’s deeds or whether he may have committed other crimes,” the head of the regional police investigation unit spearheading the case, Karsten Lemke, said.

The unit was established to hunt the killer of Dennis, who vanished during a school field trip on September 5, 2001.

Mushroom pickers discovered his body about 40 kilometres away two weeks later, but the killer’s trail had long gone cold.

But earlier this year, a witness who saw a television programme about the case recalled seeing a station wagon parked on a forest path at about 4:30 am in early September 2001 with a boy who resembled Dennis in the back seat and a man in the front, investigators said.

The witness, who was a soldier at the time, was training for a marathon before he had to report for duty that day.

The brawny, bespectacled man in the car, who looked to be in his early 30s, matched a description police had received of the suspect from sex abuse victims.

Between 1992 and 2004, five boys were killed in the same way in Germany, France and the Netherlands while at least 40 children were sexually molested in the same regions during that period, according to media reports.

Police had long suspected the murderer to be a serial killer living in Germany.



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.