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Graverobber 'blackmailed woman with son's ashes'

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Graverobber 'blackmailed woman with son's ashes'
Photo: DPA
15:56 CEST+02:00
A man accused of stealing the ashes of his ex-girlfriend’s dead son to blackmail her for €10,000 went on trial on Thursday in a district court in Gera, eastern Germany.

Jürgen W. of Plaue in Thuringia is accused of digging up an urn containing the remains of the son of his ex-girlfriend, Kathrina O.

The public prosecutor said the 47-year-old technician dug the urn out of a graveyard on the evening of July 4, 2011.

He then sent Kathrina O. four extortion letters with photos of the urn, demanding to be paid €10,000 or he would throw away the ashes, daily Bild reported.

Kathrina O.'s son was killed in a car accident at the age of 29.

State prosecutor Steffi Kögler told the paper that the woman was instructed to take out ads in the local paper to signal her cooperation.

Instead she called the police, who found the urn inside a plastic bag from the chain gift shop “Nanu Nana,” in Jürgen W.’s Audi.

Kathrina O. denied the Jürgen W.'s accusation that the two had faked the extortion together.

“That is shocking and untrue,” the 50-year-old woman said on Thursday, the local Vogtland Anzeiger paper reported.

Kögler said the defendant could face 15 years in prison for desecration of a grave, coercion, and attempted extortion.

Jürgen W. has admitted writing the letters but said he did not steal the urn. He said he had no idea who had dug it up.

“It was just sitting in my garage one day behind my winter tyres. I don’t know how it got there,” he said.

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