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CRIME

Germany to extradite ‘girl in boot’ kidnap suspect

German authorities are expected to extradite to France a man accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl from her home in southern France. The investigation will also now include allegations of rape.

Germany to extradite 'girl in boot' kidnap suspect
Photo: DPA

The teenager was found on Friday in the boot of a car in the German city of Offenburg, close to the French border, after her disappearance from her home in the village of Barjac in the Gard region sparked a nationwide hunt.

She was only found by accident by German police after they tried to stop the car and the driver crashed. The girl was tied up in the boot.

The 32-year-old driver of the car was held by police initially on suspicion of kidnapping.

The head prosecutor in Offenburg, Herwig Schäfer, said he expected the regional appeals court in Karlsruhe to decide on the matter “within a few weeks.”

At a press conference on Monday, Schäfer said the suspect had been driving a stolen car in the village and came across the girl by chance.

“By chance at that moment she was coming home, he saw her and decided to kidnap her,” he said, adding that the suspect had provided very little other information to investigators.

A French judicial source said Monday that rape charges had been added to the probe, though investigators have refused to confirm whether the girl was sexually assaulted, citing the ongoing investigation and a desire to protect the victim.

The girl is now back at home with her family. Her father told journalists on Saturday how proud he was that she had kept a cool head during her week-long ordeal.

“She was strong-willed,” the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace newspaper quoted him as saying. “She remembered a number of details and knows the car’s licence plate number by heart.”

Chloe’s father said he had expected her to arrive home a complete wreck, but that “she acted as if she had come back from holiday.”

But the teenager’s mother said her daughter was “completely emotionally and physically exhausted. After all, she is still a child. She cried a lot.”

AFP/DPA/The Local/arp

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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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