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CRIME

Man tells court it was dog who strangled wife

A German man suspected of strangling his wife has pointed the finger at the family dog instead, saying the Labrador could have smothered her to death by accident.

Man tells court it was dog who strangled wife
Not the dog in question. Photo: DPA

The 50-year-old man was convicted of manslaughter after his wife was found strangled to death in their bathroom in Düsseldorf November 2010, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

But his conviction was overruled by a federal court which said that the fact the woman was strangled for several minutes did not necessarily on its own mean she was killed intentionally, and now the case is being heard again – complete with a witness who is an expert on dogs.

The man’s lawyer said he and his wife had been drinking heavily on the night she died – he had a blood alcohol level of 3.4 parts per thousand when police arrived at their house.

He said the woman had fallen over in the bathroom and her husband had been unable to lift her up. He had given her a pillow and blanket and gone to bed, to find her dead the following afternoon.

Their 35-kilo dog must have smothered her, the lawyer argued, saying it was well-known that they sometimes kill their own puppies this way by accident.

The man said he only realised she had died at around 4 p.m., having got up, taken the dog for a walk and talked with his mother on the phone.

But Hans-Hermann Sangen told the court it was unfair to make the dog the scapegoat in the case.

The expert from the Labrador club in Velbert, said adults could not be put in danger by one of the dogs. He said newborns could be accidentally smothered by one of the animals if they snuggled up to them, but that adults could not.

The case continues.

The Local/hc

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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