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CRIME

Hells Angels murder trial reveals police slip-ups

Ten bikers and an accomplice appeared in a Berlin court under heavy police protection on Tuesday, accused of shooting a man in front of a betting shop's security cameras in a case where the police fell short.

Hells Angels murder trial reveals police slip-ups
People waiting to enter the heavily-guarded court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The 11 men in the dock are between 25 and 38 years old and ten of them belong to the banned Hells Angels Berlin chapter.

Tahir Ö., 26, was executed with six bullets inside the bookie's in Wedding on January 10th 2014.

Prosecutors accuse Hells Angels boss Kadir Padir of ordering the hit in revenge for Tahir's wounding of one of his troops, a bouncer at an Alexanderplatz nightclub, with a knife in October 2013. Padir is one of the 11 on trial.

On January 10th, the camera at the betting shop where Tahir was playing cards recorded 13 men entering through a back door, some of them masked.

While most of the attackers kept other customers under control, one of them drew a pistol and fired eight times, with six shots hitting Tahir, who died on the scene.

The whole sequence of events lasted just a few seconds.

But in part thanks to the evidence of the camera, the police were able to round up most of the men involved.

One of them, Kassa Z., known by his gang as “the Persian”, was so terrified of the possible life sentence on charges of collective murder that he agreed to give evidence to police.

As the star witness in the trial, he has been placed under witness protection.

The case is expected to last until early 2015.

It has revealed serious failings by police in the days leading up to the execution-style killing – and in the history of their dealings with the Hells Angels.

As the case was making its way to court, it emerged that an informant had warned police about the bounty on Tahir's head four times in the days before the killing.

Berlin detective chief Christian Steiof admitted in August that the police had credible information about the threats, rather than a single random tip among hundreds, as he had previously suggested.

And the police knew that Tahir had returned to Berlin from a trip in the Netherlands, which they had previously denied.

The Hells Angels Berlin chapter was officially banned in May 2012, but the leaders of the group were warned about the ban several days before it was pronounced – reportedly by a police officer.

That meant that they had time to dissolve the club and keep hold of its money and assets, which otherwise would have been seized by the authorities.

SEE ALSO: Robbers blow up Berlin bank

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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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