Father jailed for starving daughter to death

A Bavarian man was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Thursday for collaborating with his wife to deliberately starve their three-year-old daughter to death.

Father jailed for starving daughter to death
Photo: DPA

A court in Nuremberg sentenced the 30-year-old truck driver from the Thalmässing district of Bavaria for murder by neglect and abuse.

The court said the man, Patrick R., had gone along with his overbearing, dominant wife in allowing the couple’s daughter, Sarah, to starve because he was too weak to stand up to her.

He had fully understood that his daughter was dying and had taken care not to help her, the sentencing judge said. The judge added that the man could have saved Sarah by taking her to a doctor but had avoided doing so, the judge said.

“This case has barely left anyone unaffected,” the judge said. Sarah’s suffering had been “deeply shocking and moving.”

“What kind of parents are these, who let their child starve in front of their eyes?” he asked.

Sarah died of cardiopulmonary failure in a Nuremberg hospital on August 10, 2009. She was by then emaciated and dehydrated to the point of being skeletal.

The trial of the mother, who is seriously ill from cancer, has been put on hold.

Sarah’s slow death began at the time of her mother’s dramatic weight loss in April 2009. The mother, who had weighed 120 kilograms, lost 50 kilograms within four months – partly by her choice but also partly because she had cancer, though she didn’t know that at the time.

She gave up looking after her daughter around this time. By Sarah’s third birthday in May 2009, she was showing clear signs of malnutrition. Sarah’s father had also been aware of this. Rather than looking after the girl himself when he was home from work as a truck driver, Patrick R. had gone along with his wife and helped hide Sarah at home.

“The reason for this behaviour, in our view, was fear,” the judge said. The woman, who already had two children from her first marriage, had worried someone would report Sarah’s malnutrition to authorities.

So the couple hid the girl in their room and deflected questions from friends and relatives.

The judge stressed that the mother had clearly been the instigator of the girl’s neglect. She had made the decision to let Sarah starve in order to cover up her earlier neglect. It had also been her idea to hide the girl.

But Patrick R. had helped her. And in the end, his daughter had had no meaning for him, the judge said.

DAPD/The Local

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.