“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.