Two men stand trial over star chef killing

Sylt is the beautiful getaway of the German elite. Known for its stark beauty and tranquillity, the island rarely makes it past the celebrity pages. But Thursday saw the start of a trial against two men accused of killing a famous local chef because they didn't like his food.

Two men stand trial over star chef killing
Flowers left at a makeshift memorial to star chef Miki Nozawa. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors say the two men, one in his thirties, the other in his fifties, beat chef Miki Nozawa so badly that he later died of his injuries.

The 38-year-old defendant stands trial on the charge of causing grievous bodily harm resulting in death, while the 51-year-old stands accused of attempted assault.

The beating allegedly took place in May 2013 at a bar in Westerland.

The older man, unhappy with the food they ate at the Nozawa's restaurant the previous day, is said to have demanded their money back and begun to push him.

When the Japanese chef fell to the floor the younger man continued to kick him.

The men were in an “acutely intoxicated state," prosecutors explained. Nozawa died one day later from serious brain damage.

Star Chef

Nozawa was no ordinary chef. Until 2007 he cooked in Flavio Briatore's Michelin-starred restaurant “Billionaire” in Sardinia.

He then moved to Berlin, where he won critical acclaim for his Japanese-Italian fusion “Mania” restaurant. He had also cooked for Michael Gorbachov in Moscow.

According to star chef Andreas Bernet, who took Nozawa to Sylt in 2009, he “cooked the best Italian food in the world.”

Witnesses to the crime

A policewoman who arrived at the scene of the crime described seeing the victim lying in a pool of blood at the foot of a flight of stairs.

She could detect neither pulse nor breathing, and so attempted to resuscitate him. The older of the accused told her the situation involved some “wrangling” over food.

A guest of the bar, who was present at the time, described witnessing an argument that turned into a fight.

“Pay us back the ten Euros” he recounted hearing the men say. The three men were then sent out to an anteroom by an associate of the bar's owner.

A barman described how the younger of the two defendants had asked him to call an ambulance.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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