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CRIME

Court jails mother for baby killings

A German court jailed a mother on Thursday for 14 years for killing three of her children - a young daughter and twin babies - in a forest before a failed suicide attempt.

Court jails mother for baby killings
The mother was jailed for 14 years. Photo: Armin Weigel/DPA
The mentally unstable 39-year-old mother, a bakery saleswoman identified only as Bianca T., first strangled her six-year-old daughter, then smothered the four-month-old twins.
 
The woman acted in the throes of desperation after the twins' father committed himself to a psychiatric ward for depression and she could not convince him to return home.
 
In a harrowing testimony, the court heard how the terrified six-year-old, Anna-Lea, had struggled and pleaded for her life, saying "Mama, I don't want to die, not today, maybe tomorrow".
 
After the attacks on November 13th last year, the woman intended to take her own life and headed, with the children's bodies in her car, straight for a carpark to jump off the roof, having sent her partner text messages about the killings.
 
But the man called police who then spotted the woman in her car, leading to a high-speed chase. The woman deliberately crashed in a suicide attempt but walked away almost unscathed from the wreck, the court in Landshut, southern Germany, was told.
 
After her arrest, the mother confessed, claiming to have smothered the twins – a boy and a girl named Fabian and Lisa – but an autopsy later found both had also suffered fractured skulls and the boy broken limbs.
 
Anna-Lea and Fabian were declared dead in hospital, where surgeons attempted to save the life of Lisa before she too died of her injuries.
 
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," the woman said in tears in court, testifying that she had acted without a clear motive.
 
"I committed these acts, I know… But it's as if it wasn't me. It's like I was outside of myself," said the woman, who has had a total of six children from three fathers.
 
Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of 14 years and six months on murder and manslaughter charges for the woman, and the defence 13 years.
 
No appeal was scheduled.
 

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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