Authorities were aware of hidden girl

The case of a 13-year-old Brandenburg girl who had been locked up for years by her parents took a turn Wednesday after it came to light that authorities knew she had not attended school for at least four years.

Authorities were aware of hidden girl
The home where the 13-year-old was kept hidden. Photo: DPA

A neighbour in the town of Lübbenow reported the family on July 15, and the girl was taken to a nearby clinic by the Uckermark county authorities and put into protective custody, spokesperson Ramona Fischer said. The case was first reported Wednesday.

The girl, identified as 13-year-old Jennifer, displays autistic tendencies and has never attended school, said county commissioner Klemens Schmitz in an interview with public broadcaster RBB.

The mayor of Uckerland, Christine Wernicke, said Wednesday that local authorities had been aware that Jennifer had not been registered for school for at least four years. The youth office in nearby Prenzlau had been informed of the matter but apparently did not respond.

Doctors are examining Jennifer, who shows no signs of physical neglect, Fischer said. Youth services also took her two other siblings into custody.

Neighbours of the family in Lübbenow, who wished to remain unnamed, reported having practically no contact with the family. Only one woman told reporters that she had sometimes seen the other two children playing near their home.

Schmitz said the case indicated serious malpractice by the youth office, adding he wanted to lead an immediate investigation into the matter and to improve the coordination between the local school, health and resident registration offices.

Meanwhile the state prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin is investigating Jennifer’s parents for neglecting their parental duties.

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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.