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CRIME

Taxi driver killer confesses 15 years later

The violent death of a taxi driver killed 15 years ago has finally been solved after the man who killed him went to the police and confessed.

Taxi driver killer confesses 15 years later
Photo: DPA

Now 35, a man named only as Anton F., told a judge in Brandenburg how he killed the driver, whose death was never solved by the authorities, Der Spiegel magazine reported on its website on Friday.

“Without his confession it is certain that the case would never have been solved,” said judge Sabine Schwesig as she jailed him for five-and-a-half years on Thursday.

She called the case “relatively unusual” in that it was a crime committed by a teenager, but she was judging a grown man. But said she had to mete out justice and convicted him of manslaughter and sent him to prison.

Back in 1994, Anton F.was 19 and freshly moved from Kazakhstan to Brandenburg state when he decided to run off from the taxi without paying the fare after an evening spent drinking.

But the driver, named only as Kurt H., caught him and would not let him flee. Anton F. said he stabbed the driver in the neck with a kitchen knife he had in his pocket.

In the ensuing struggle, the driver hit him over the head with a chunk of wood and then Anton F. said he grabbed a piece of wood and smashed the driver over the head several times.

He then told the court he set fire to the taxi and fled. He only realised the man had died when he later saw local taxis decorated with mourning colours.

Der Spiegel reported that Anton F. later moved to North Rhine-Westphalia where he started a family, but was plagued with problems, split from his girlfriend and was at one point diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

It is not known whether his mental illness was connected to the continuing guilt he carried about the taxi driver.

Last October he cancelled his phone and electricity contracts and went to initially sceptical police to admit his crime.

It is not clear why Anton F. decided to admit to the killing so long after the fact.

But his lawyer told Spiegel his client was a man of conscience, even once returning a wallet filled with €400 to its rightful owner without being asked.

The Local/mdm

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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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