Man's torture chamber awaited captive woman

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24 Aug, 2011 Updated Wed 24 Aug 2011 11:01 CEST
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A man who kidnapped a young woman in Hamburg is suspected of preparing an elaborate torture chamber for her in his apartment, police said.


Thomas F. and his 26-year-old victim met each other through friends and had had sporadic contact up to last Friday, according to the police. That’s when the 30-year-old allegedly handcuffed the woman, threatened her with a gun and forced her into his apartment.

But during an unguarded moment, the woman pulled apart barbed wire covering a window, jumped out and ran away. Neighbours alerted the police, who arrested Thomas F. on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.

Police said they found all the windows in the flat had been barricaded. Thomas F. also had a large stock of food, handcuffs, a gun, a hand grenade and a sound-proofed telephone booth. In his apartment building’s basement, officials found explosive substances, the discovery of which forced the temporary evacuation of the building.

Police are now investigating whether Thomas F. has committed other crimes – he was previously convicted of assault, fraud and stalking charges. They are also meticulously going through every inch of the apartment.

“The apartment is being taken apart, piece by piece,” said one investigator.

The case has shocked Germany, with the media speculating about what his ultimate aims really were.

It has also surprised the man's neighbours, who said they thought he barricaded windows just as a protective measure.

“He told us that he wanted to protect himself from burglars, because he had already been broken into three times,” a neighbour told Die Welt newspaper on Wednesday.

Officials said they had discovered a bag filled with a self-mixed explosive substance that they suspect Thomas F. might have intended to fill into a collection of fire extinguishers.

A large swathe of the area was cordoned off and authorities used special vehicles to transport the devices elsewhere for testing.

"We do not know what is going on with the fire extinguishers or whether they are related to the crime," police spokesman Mirko Streiber told Die Welt.

The police said that Thomas F. is refusing to cooperate in the investigation and communicate with detectives.

The Local/DPA/mdm



2011/08/24 11:01

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