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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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.