Police in manslaughter trial over woman’s death

Two policemen in western Germany are on trial for manslaughter for allegedly standing by as a woman was gunned down by her husband.

Police in manslaughter trial over woman's death
The two policemen (pixelated) and their lawyers in court. Photo: DPA

“The question of whether we are responsible for the death of this woman is tearing me up,” one of the policemen told the opening of the trial in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia.

The 47-year-old woman from Recklinghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, had come to the men asking for help after she and her husband, 51, separated acrimoniously in March 2013.

She wanted protection from her husband, a registered marksman who kept weapons at their home, while she collected her possessions from their apartment.

But when she and her would-be protectors arrived at the home, the two officers sent the woman in first.

When she entered, her husband shot her seven times with a pistol and she later died of her wounds in hospital.

The officers returned fire and hit the man in the leg, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported at the time. His life was never in danger.

The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported that police commissioner Georg Stenzel, who investigated the case, said “we're not a security service, you can't just give us a job to do,” at the time.

The woman had reportedly already asked for police protection from her former husband on a number of occasions.

Her husband was jailed for six years last October and detained indefinitely at a psychiatric institute. 

SEE ALSO: Man kills ex-girlfriend, mother and himself

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners