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CRIME

Teen admits to murdering child and school friend in case that shook Germany

Six months after a brutal double murder in the western town of Herne, the trial began on Friday of a 19-year-old defendant.

Teen admits to murdering child and school friend in case that shook Germany
Marcel H. in court on Friday. Photo: DPA

“The defendant wants to say that he does not dispute the charge,” defendant Marcel H.’s lawyer said at the beginning of proceedings at the Bochum state court.

But defence gave no further details about the alleged murders, nor did they respond to the prosecution's description of Marcel H.'s life before the murders.

The 19-year-old is accused of murdering his 8-year-old neighbour Jaden on March 6th in the town of Herne in North Rhine-Westphalia, before stabbing a 22-year-old school friend called Christopher to death two days later. He allegedly also posted a picture of the murder of Jaden online shortly after he committed the crime.

Prosecutors argue that the teenager convinced Jaden to come into his house on the pretext of helping him hold a ladder. But when inside he stabbed the boy 52 times. Prosecutors say he acted out of blood lust, Spiegel reports.

News initially broke of the murder when disturbing photographs appeared online, including a selfie appearing to depict the bloody suspect with the boy's body, and an audio message purporting to be the suspect describing the act in a “cold-blooded” manner, as police described at the time.

An internet user alerted police to the pictures, who found Jaden’s body in the basement.

According to prosecutors, Marcel H. then convinced a former school friend that he needed a place to stay, as his parents were out of town. But on the next day, the 22-year-old friend found out that police were searching for Marcel H. and threatened to inform them of his whereabouts.

The defendant allegedly responded by stabbing him 68 times and leaving him to bleed to death. Two days later he set the apartment on fire in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

Marcel H. eventually handed himself in to police, calling them from a restaurant to say that he was the person they were looking for. He had already admitted to the crimes while in police custody.

The trial is scheduled to last until the middle of October.

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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