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‘Child killer’ told cops he was paedophile

The young man accused of sexually abusing and killing a young girl in northern Germany turned himself in to police four months ago for undressing and photographing a seven-year-old girl – but nothing was done.

'Child killer' told cops he was paedophile
Werner Brandt, head of the murder commission. Photo: DPA

The 18-year-old man visited police in the small northern town of Emden with his psychologist back in November 2011 to report himself. His stepfather had reported him to the police two months earlier for possession of child pornography.

His mother had discovered him as he took photos of the young girl, and he then spent two months in psychological treatment.

But although police planned to visit his home at the end of the year, officials never got around to it, they admitted in a press conference on Tuesday.

Criticism was immediate and harsh, with Rudolf Egg, director of the national centre for criminology, saying the man should not have been ignored. “In the interest of victim protection, one cannot let someone like that simply go,” he told TV show Tagesthemen on state broadcaster ARD.

Not only did police fail to act on the information he volunteered, they arrested a different teenager after 11-year-old Lena was found dead in a car park in Emden.

Enough information was released about the innocent boy that locals identified him, he faced online threats of violence, and fled the small town.

On Tuesday Friedo de Vries, a deputy police chief from Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, said the 18-year-old had not only admitted killing Lena, but that he had been known to police since last September, when he was reported for owning child porn, Der Spiegel reported.

Two months later the man officially reported himself to the police, admitting that he had taken pictures of naked girls, and owned child porn.

He said that he was actively trying to combat his paedophilic tendencies and was seeking treatment. His approach to the police was intended to draw a line under his problem.

But though a decision was made to go and search the man’s flat, this was never done, de Vries admitted. He said an internal investigation would now be undertaken. “Simply the fact that this could happen is so serious that I want it explained immediately,” he said.

Police divers have been searching local ditches for evidence in the Lena killing, though police would not say what they are looking for.

They did say that they had found evidence in the suspect’s flat that linked him to the car park where the 11-year-old’s body was found. They also found evidence linking him to an attempted rape last November.

The Local/DPA/DAPD/hc

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CRIME

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

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