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CRIME

Trial starts in case of woman raped in Bonn by man wielding branch saw

The trial involving a man accused of extortion and raping a young woman who was on a camping trip with her boyfriend began in a Bonn regional court on Monday.

Trial starts in case of woman raped in Bonn by man wielding branch saw
The defendant in a Bonn courtroom on Monday. Photo: DPA

The 31-year-old asylum seeker from Ghana allegedly threatened the 23-year-old woman with a branch saw and raped her in front of her boyfriend in April.

According to the prosecution, he cut the couple's tent with the saw and demanded they give him their valuables before raping the young woman, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported.

The young couple from Baden-Württemberg were camping in the Siegaue nature reserve north of the former German capital of Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

The 26-year-old man had been afraid to intervene but afterwards managed to call the police.

A nationwide manhunt then took place as the perpetrator had fled, running off into the night in the direction of the Rhine river.

Police had also distributed facial composite images of the man. Five days later, a passerby who noticed a resemblance between the images and the man alerted the police who then made an arrest.

On the first day of the trial, the defendant denied the crime. He described in detail how he grew up in Ghana as the son of a rich plantation owner.

The man – whose hands and feet were bound in the courtroom – did not follow the advice of his two lawyers on making use of his right to stay silent.

“I don't understand why I should remain silent when I don't know anything about the case,” the defendant said.

According to SZ, the case caused controversy when it was later discovered that the young man's emergency call was initially considered a joke by a respondent at the control centre in Bonn. 

The trial at the regional court in Bonn is expected to last eight days.

CRIME

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.

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