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CRIME

Munich taxi driver jailed for driving over pedestrian – twice

A taxi driver in the Bavarian capital was sentenced to five years in jail on Wednesday for attempted manslaughter, after he "used his vehicle as a weapon" against a pedestrian.

Munich taxi driver jailed for driving over pedestrian - twice
Photo: DPA

Edris L. was on his way back from work in the Schwabing area of central Munich in August last year, when a couple of women stopped him as he was crossing a one-way street. The two women wanted to know the way to a nearby pub, the Süddeustche Zeitung reports.

As the 26-year-old talked with the pair, a taxi drove past them at a high speed and without leaving them much space.

Edris L. reacted angrily, shouting at the driver and thumping his fist against the window, the court heard on Wednesday.

Judge Norbert Riedmann said during his sentencing that this is typically the point in such an encounter “when the middle finger is usually raised and someone gets called an arsehole,” and the conflict ends there.

But that was far from the end of it in this case.

The 58-year-old driver, Martin S., stopped his vehicle and reversed, coming to a halt with his car pointing towards the group.

When he started to rev his engine, the two women fled behind a parked car. But Edris L. stood his ground.

“I saw him, but I’m not afraid of cars,” he told the court.

Martin S. wasn't joking though. He put his foot on the gas and drove into the young man, intentionally, as he admitted to the court.

Edris L. was catapulted onto the bonnet of the vehicle, suffering serious bruising.

Then came the act which the court decided constituted attempted manslaughter by the taxi driver.

Martin S. put his foot on the brake so that Edris L. fell back off the bonnet and onto the street. With his victim lying on the asphalt right in front of him, the driver put his foot on the gas a second time.

Luckily for Edris L., his slight figure saved him.

There were 20 centimetres separating the bottom of the car from the road, and Edris L. managed to just fit in under the gap. Furthermore, because of the way he was lying, he managed to avoid being driven over by one of the wheels.

He nonetheless suffered serious wounds from the first collision and had to spend three days in hospital.

The presiding judge Riedmann told Martin S. that “you acted out of anger and turned your car into a weapon.”

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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