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CRIME

Umbrella stab victim dies of mercury poisoning

A German man has died after being stabbed in the backside by a stranger wielding a poison umbrella which injected him with mercury, fatally poisoning him.

Umbrella stab victim dies of mercury poisoning
Photo: DPA

Police have admitted they have been left at a loss by the attack, which took place nearly a year ago, when the 40-year-old man was attacked by the mysterious stranger in Hannover.

The case mirrors the murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov who was killed with a poisoned umbrella in London in 1978 at the height of the Cold War.

A post-mortem and toxicological examination being carried out on the German man are expected to point to mercury poisoning as the cause of death, Der Spiegel news magazine said on Friday.

The man was diagnosed with mercury poisoning a few weeks after the attack, and fell into a coma.

He had said he was attacked by a slim stranger who had a sticking plaster on his face.

After months in a coma, the victim had seemed to be improving, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor said. He had been in a rehabilitation centre, but this Wednesday he suddenly died.

The prosecutor are now searching for the mysterious assailant, investigating a possible charge of grievous bodily harm resulting in death.

The Local/hc

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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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