Bodenfelde child-killer gets life sentence

The 26-year-old man who killed two teenagers and cannibalized their bodies in Bodenfelde in Lower Saxony was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday, with additional preventive detention that means he is likely never to be released.

Bodenfelde child-killer gets life sentence
Photo: DPA

A court in Göttingen delivered the sentence Monday morning. The sentence actually goes beyond that which prosecutors and the families had asked for.

Judge Ralf Günther also committed killer Jan O. to psychiatric treatment and ordered that he be subject to preventative detention. Although an inmate serving a life sentence may eventually be eligible for parole, Jan O. would be detained longer if deemed a threat by experts, meaning he is unlikely ever to be released.

He is to be sent to a psychiatric facility to serve his sentence.

In a case that shocked the country, Jan O. killed Nina, 14, and Tobias, 13, in November last year and left their bodies in a wooded area just outside the town of Bodenfelde. In his detailed confession, Jan O. admitted to carrying out cannibalistic and vampiristic acts on the children both before and after they were dead.

Günther described the crimes as “excessively violent” and “a just about unimaginable dimension of injustice.”

In reaching the sentence, the court took into account Jan O.’s written and verbal confessions and his freely given account of the crimes’ details.

But the court went beyond the sentence demanded by the state prosecution and the lawyers for the children’s parents, both of whom had asked for a 15-year sentence along with psychiatric treatment and subsequent preventive detention. They accepted that Jan O. had diminished responsibility.

Jan O.’s defence had also agreed to a 15-year sentence though without preventative detention, arguing that the placement in psychiatric treatment would ensure he would not be released if he were still considered dangerous.

During the trial, he apologised to the children’s families and expressed remorse, saying, “I don’t know what came over me.”

DAPD/The Local/djw

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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.