Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

A 51-year-old man suspected of killing five people including a baby as his car tore through a busy shopping street in the German city of Trier has been remanded in police custody, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier
Malu Dreyer (SPD), minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate, and the mayor of Trier, Wolfram Leibe (SPD), paid tribute to the victims on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The prosecutors had said the suspect, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident on Tuesday afternoon, could be placed in psychiatric care.

But a judge ruled on Wednesday that he should be placed in custody, though no details were given of a possible motive.

The suspect, a native of the quaint city of Trier in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate state, is accused of five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder, the judge said.

READ ALSO: Baby among five killed as car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

He is accused of tearing through the pedestrian zone in a silver SUV, killing five people including a nine-week-old baby and injuring 18 others, six of them seriously.

The victims also included three women aged 25, 52 and 73 and a 45-year-old man — the father of the baby who was killed.

The suspect was arrested at the scene and police were able to question him but said there were no indications of a religious or political motive.

Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday morning around Trier's Porta Nigra Roman city gate to pay tribute to the victims, despite coronavirus restrictions.

“Let us maintain this solidarity that I am experiencing here, right now, in the weeks and months to come,” Trier mayor Wolfram Leibe said.

Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer condemned the “terrible event here in this beautiful city”.

“Nothing, really nothing, can justify this brutal and terrible act,” she said.

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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