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CRIME

Graverobber ‘blackmailed woman with son’s ashes’

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.

Graverobber 'blackmailed woman with son's ashes'
Photo: DPA

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.

The Local/sh

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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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