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Wife gets six years for marriage misery killing

The Local · 20 Feb 2014, 10:35

Published: 20 Feb 2014 10:35 GMT+01:00

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The 60-year-old mother-of-five and grandmother appeared almost relieved as her sentence was read out on Wednesday in the court in Halle, eastern Germany.

Four years after a domestic argument resulted in her killing her husband with an axe in their shared house in Sangerhausen in the Harz region, the woman was found guilty of manslaughter.

In hours of grisly testimony, the woman confessed to how she had killed her husband of twenty-five years and then dismembered and disposed of his body. He had initially attacked her with the axe, she told the court.

Two days before on their silver wedding anniversary, the woman told her husband she was going to leave him.

After smashing his skull in with the axe in a fit of rage, she had hastily cut up the corpse using a sharp knife and an electric saw, before burying it in eleven plastic bags in the back garden.

Then she waited, telling her family that her husband had left her and was living with his brother in the Erzgebirge region on the Czech border.

"And everybody was glad that he was gone," said the judge, describing how the deed went unnoticed for nearly four years.

No one seemed bothered by the man's disappearance until his daughter notified police that he was missing in March 2013, said the prosecution. Meanwhile, the woman lived off her husband's miner’s pension of €1100 a month.

The defence, which fought for a reduced sentence of around three years, argued it was years of a terrible marriage which ate away at the woman's self esteem.

The woman had done everything for the family, worked hard to bring home money and had brought up the children without help from her husband, said defence lawyer Sabine Grunow.

She had always tried to keep up appearances, hiding her marriage problems and her husband's excessive alcohol consumption from outsiders.

Yet the woman's marriage was gruelling, physically abusive and humiliating, said psychologist Renate Reichel, with her husband's constant put downs and attacks "eating away at her" for years.

"She had no friends, male or female, and was fixated on this relationship," said Reichel.

But both the defence and the judge ultimately agreed that the woman's marital misery could in no way justify the deed and that she could have sought another way out.

"She did not manage a separation," the judge said.

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