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CRIME

Man stands trial for poisoning baby daughter

A zookeeper is on trial in Potsdam accused of attempting to murder his 8-month-old daughter, feeding her poison until her condition was so severe she fell into a coma.

Man stands trial for poisoning baby daughter
The accused in court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors say the 36-year-old man, originally from Schleswig-Holstein, administered the disinfectants and cleaning products containing citric acid to his daughter over a period of weeks because she was getting in the way of a new relationship.

The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten reports that the slow-motion murder attempt began on March 14 2014 and continued over a period of three months.

"I love my children," the accused said in court on Tuesday. "I know that I could never do anything to my daughter".

He appeared to be attempting to shift blame to his former partner, the girl's mother, saying that she never wanted to have a second child.

"Our relationship suffered" from her unhappiness after the birth, he said.

After the child stopped putting on weight and ceased to grow, she was taken to hospital in March 2014.

Prosecutors argue that after her admission, the man continued to try and poison her by using disinfectant, even as she lay in a coma,

Doctors noticed that the baby's condition always worsened when her parents came to visit.

He is accused of administering the chemicals on at least 12 separate occasions.

In statements to the court, the prosecution described the child, now 20 months old, as having made a good recovery.

"She is now very alert," said barrister Manuela Krahl-Röhnisch.

The child now lives with her mother, who has since split from the father, in the vicinity of Hamburg, along with another of the former couple's children.

At first the child was put in care after prosecutors suspected the mother. Doctors assumed it to be a case of Munchausen by proxy syndrome, in which parents deliberately harm their children, or invent illnesses for them, in order to attract sympathy.

The trial, which began on Thursday, continues until July 9th.

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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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