Man sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder of Chinese student

The grim details of the rape, abuse and murder of a young Chinese student by a German couple last year shook many across Germany. Now the 21-year-old perpetrators have been sentenced to prison.

Man sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder of Chinese student
Sebastian F. in court on Friday. Photo: DPA.

A court in Dessau-Roßlau, Saxony-Anhalt on Friday sentenced 21-year-old Sebastian F. to life in prison for raping and murdering the Chinese architecture student. His former girlfriend, Xenia I., was sentenced to five years and six months in youth detention for sexual assault. In Germany, suspects can be tried under juvenile criminal law until age 21.

According to broadcaster MDR, Sebastian F. must serve at least 15 years in prison before he can apply to be released on probation.

Both defendants were also ordered to pay damages for pain and suffering amounting to €60,000 in total.

The 25-year-old architecture student had gone for a jog in the city of Dessau on May 11th last year when the young couple lured her to an empty apartment. The pair then raped the woman repeatedly and abused her, leaving her with such severe injuries that they assumed she would die in the flat, prosecutors said.

When the couple returned hours later and found the victim, identified in media reports as Li Yangjie, still alive, they carried the severely wounded woman away and abandoned her in underbrush.  

After friends in Germany and China alerted the authorities that she was missing, police organized a search for the woman, who was from the eastern province of Henan. Her corpse was found two days later. An autopsy found she had suffered blows to the head, torso and extremities.

Head judge Uda Schmidt said the two had committed an “incomprehensible crime,” adding that the young student lost her life so that the former couple could live out their sexual fantasies.

Sebastian F., whose parents are police officers, remained silent and indifferent during the more than eight months of court proceedings.

Initially there had been suspicions that the young man’s parents had had an influence on the case, especially because his mother had taken part in the first interviews before there were any suspects. But these suspicions about his parents were not substantiated.

Xenia I., who has three children, told the court that she had been the one to lure in the young woman and had been present when she was raped. But she said she was not there during the abusive treatment that ultimately led to the student's death.

Sebastian F. is also accused of at least one further rape committed in the summer of 2013 in Dessau which only came to light in the course of the investigation.

Dessau is closely associated with the Bauhaus movement and draws architecture and design students from around the world.


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.