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CRIME

Sex offender dies after self-immolation in front of court

A 71-year-old convicted sex offender has died from serious burn injuries after he set himself on fire in front of a state court in the western German city of Koblenz.

Sex offender dies after self-immolation in front of court
Photo: DPA

The man, who has not been named by police, was set to begin serving a prison sentence of three and half years on Monday. According to the Rhein-Zeitung (RZ) newspaper, he had been convicted in 2010 of abusing a four-year-old child beginning in 1986 and lasting into late 1993.

The man left a suicide note and doused himself with a flammable liquid before setting himself alight on Monday afternoon. Although he was taken to a nearby emergency clinic, he died overnight.

Throughout his trial, he expressed outrage at the charges against him and accused his victim of fantasizing, the paper reported.

He admitted an attraction to children but denied ever having had sex with them. The man had also spent time in prison decades ago for abusing a child, although he continued to maintain his innocence, according to the newspaper.

It’s not clear why the man killed himself, although a court employee reported that he had wanted to protest against his conviction.

The Local/DPA/mdm

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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