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CRIME

Two jailed for kicking homeless man to death and burning body

A Cologne court on Tuesday sentenced a man and a woman to jail for kicking a homeless man to death, and then burning his body last year.

Two jailed for kicking homeless man to death and burning body
The underpass in Cologne. Photo: DPA

On a cold November night last year, police discovered a fire in an underpass in the inner city of Cologne, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports. Only upon closer inspection did they realize that there was a body within the flames.

A medic called to the scene could only confirm the death.

Further investigations revealed that the man had regularly slept in the underpass, and that two other homeless people were responsible for his murder.

Both of the culprits were sentenced to seven years and six months in jail on Tuesday by the state court in Cologne. The sentence went further than the punishment called for by prosecutors.

The culprits kicked their victim to death, aiming at his head and stomach, the court heard. They then burned him to try to eradicate the evidence.

The defendants claimed they had acted in self-defence, saying the victim had sexually assaulted the woman.

According to the SZ, violence against and among homeless people has been increasing in recent years.

A report by the Federation for the Support of the Homeless (BAGW) published in January found that 17 homeless people were killed in Germany in 2016, and that there were a further 128 cases of violent assault.

In one case that made national headlines in December, a group of young refugees set fire to the belongings of a sleeping homeless man in a Berlin metro station. The main culprit was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison earlier this month.

CRIME

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

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