US woman’s Hamburg killer ruled insane

A man who killed a young American woman, using a penknife to stab her 180 times, was told he will probably spend the rest of his life in a secure psychiatric clinic by a court in Hamburg on Wednesday.

US woman's Hamburg killer ruled insane
Photo: DPA

The 27-year-old Greek man was certifiably insane at the time of the killing, after which he threw himself from a wall in a suicide attempt, a Hamburg court ruled.

“If necessary, he will spend the rest of his life in the closed facility,” Judge Wolfgang Backen said as he handed down his verdict.

“I hope he will never leave the clinic in his life every again,” the victim’s mother Melissa Keele, who was present at the trial, said after the sentence. “He is a dangerous man.”

Police only found out what the 27-year-old Greek engineer had done after he tried to commit suicide by jumping from a height of ten metres at Hamburg Airport last August.

He survived, though critically injured, and police found the victim’s papers and a hotel key on him.

Officers then found the body of 23-year-old Texan woman Brittany Keele in the hotel room in the St. Georg district of the northern Germany city. She had bled to death after being stabbed 180 times with a Swiss army knife. Three of the stabs had punctured her lung.

Police also found the tip of one of the Greek’s fingers, which he had apparently cut off himself, in her hair.

The judge closed the trial to the public at the request of the defence lawyer, who said her client’s delusions were made worse by the presence of more people.

The trial relied heavily on testimony of the mothers of both victim and perpetrator.

The judge commended both women for their courage, and said it was admirable that they had met outside the court to discuss the tragic events. “They both lost a child,” he said in his court statement.

The Local/DAPD/bk

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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.