Man accused of pushing German boy under train suffers from schizophrenia

An Eritrean man accused of killing an eight-year-old boy by pushing him under a train in Frankfurt last month is suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia", German prosecutors said Thursday.

Man accused of pushing German boy under train suffers from schizophrenia
Flowers and tributes were laid at Frankfurt station. Photo: DPA

In an attack which horrified Germany at the end of July, prosecutors laid murder and attempted murder charges against the man after a young boy was killed having been pushed in front of a high-speed train in Frankfurt station.

The boy's mother was also allegedly pushed onto the tracks before managed to roll to safety, while a 78-year-old woman was able to resist an attempt to push her onto the platform's stone bed.

According to the public prosecutions office, the 40-year-old suspect, who was remanded in custody, is suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” and has been transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

Since his illness was believed to have been acute at the time of the attack, prosecutors believe he had “at least a considerably reduced ability” to control his actions.

READ ALSO: Suspect accused of pushing boy under train was on the run from Swiss police

The married father-of-three, identified by German media only as Habte A., had been undergoing psychiatric treatment this year, said police in the Swiss canton of Zurich where he lived.

Shortly before the deadly attack in Frankfurt, he had flown into a rage and threatened a neighbour with a knife and locked her up. He also trapped his wife and their children, aged one, three and four, in their flat before fleeing from Switzerland to Germany.

German police have said it appeared the suspect had not been listed as wanted in European police databases and had been able to cross borders freely.

The boy's death sparked a debate about security at German train stations. Earlier in the month, a 34-year-old mother died after being pushed in front of a train, allegedly by a Serbian man.

SEE ALSO: 'More police needed': Killing of child puts focus on security in Germany's train stations

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.