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CRIME

Police: ‘house of horrors’ pair tortured, killed 2 women

A German couple lured women to their village home with personal contact ads, then trapped, tortured and killed at least two of them, authorities said Tuesday.

Police: 'house of horrors' pair tortured, killed 2 women
Investigators search the crime scene. Photo: DPA

Police said they were not ruling out more deaths from what one newspaper dubbed the “house of horrors”, where one woman's body was cut up and burnt in the fireplace.

The 46-year-old man, identified by Bild daily as Wilfried W., and his ex-wife, Angelika B., 47, were arrested last week, accused of tormenting a woman through almost two months of captivity.

The couple was caught after their car broke down with the badly wounded 41-year-old woman inside. She died hours later in hospital from a head injury.

On Tuesday prosecutors and police said the female suspect had admitted to at least one more killing by the couple, and to trapping several more women over the years.

The second victim was a 33-year-old woman, whose body the couple had stored in a deep-freezer, then cut into pieces and incinerated in their fireplace.

The woman had died on August 1, 2014 as a result of “severe physical abuse”, in the village house in the western town of Höxter, said chief prosecutor Ralf Meyer.

Meyer stressed that investigators could not rule out that more people were killed, although police at this stage had no evidence of further deaths.

“We are looking for more victims” who survived, said Ralf Östermann, chief of the homicide division in the nearby city of Bielefeld.

He also told a press conference that the male suspect had denied all charges of abuse and torture and had placed all the blame on his ex-wife.

Meyer said police had no evidence of sexual abuse in the case.

The couple married in 1999 and filed for divorce in 2013, the same year the man married the 33-year-old woman who later died, police said.

Östermann said the male suspect had also “massively abused” his co-accused ex-wife.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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