Police back to square one in child murder case

German police have released their only suspect for the murder of 11-year-old Lena, whose body was found in a multi-storey car park last Sunday morning. Despite a conflicting alibi, other evidence has now ruled the 17-year-old out.

Police back to square one in child murder case
Photo: DPA

The unnamed school pupil was detained on Tuesday evening after a witness placed him close to the scene of the crime in the centre of the coastal town of Emden. A judge approved the arrest warrant for the young man on Wednesday.

The suspect spent three nights in a detention centre during his interrogation. And it seemed the police may have got their man, when in a press conference on Thursday, they said he had given a contradictory testimony, and had no alibi.

But despite hours of questioning by both police and the custodial judge, he consistently denied any involvement in the murder.

He lived just 500 metres away from the spot that Lena’s body was found.

“New investigations have confirmed that he can be ruled out as the perpetrator,” investigators said in a statement on Friday. His arrest warrant has already been lifted but no further details were released.

Officers also declined to answer whether there were any other suspects.

“The murder division continues to have 40 officers working on the case,” the statement continued.

Emden town council has offered a €10,000 reward for information leading to the perpetrator. Police released CCTV footage from the car-park, which was next to a multiplex cinema, showing a young man wearing dark trousers, a dark hooded top and dark trainers with thick white soles.

Lena is thought to have been sexually assaulted and murdered in the car park on Saturday night after going out with a friend the same age.

A security guard found her body later that evening and alerted emergency services, who could not resuscitate her.

She was buried on Friday morning in a private service.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/bk

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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.