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CRIME

German man jailed for abusing boy found hiding in closet

A German court on Thursday sentenced a 46-year-old man to indefinite detention for sexually abusing a teenage boy he kept hidden for over two years and who police found in a closet.

German man jailed for abusing boy found hiding in closet
The Bochum state court. Photo: dpa | Guido Kirchner

A court in Bochum sentenced the accused, identified as Lars H., to nine years in prison followed by preventive detention, after finding him guilty of more than 400 counts of child sex abuse.

Preventive detention is one of the harshest sanctions in Germany’s criminal system, designed to keep incarcerated offenders considered too dangerous to release, even after they have served their official sentence.

The victim was 13 years old when he went missing in June 2017 from the youth shelter where he was living at the time.

The court heard that he had met the suspect in an online chatroom and agreed to go to his apartment in the western town of Recklinghausen.

The suspect said he had asked the boy to move in with him and rewarded him with money and cigarettes for sexual favours. The judge however rejected the accused’s claim that it was a consensual relationship. The boy himself gave three days of testimony during the trial.

A court spokesman said the accused had abused the boy on at least 445 occasions, before he was discovered by accident in December 2019 during a police search of the flat on suspicion the accused was distributing child pornography.

Officers found the boy in a bedroom closet, in a case that stunned Germany and made headlines as an “Advent Miracle” for reuniting the then 15-year-old with his mother just before Christmas.

She had gone on a national TV show the previous July to launch a fresh appeal for information into her son’s disappearance.

But in the end his discovery was entirely coincidental.

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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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