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CRIME

Berlin U-Bahn killer had history of violence

A man who shoved a 20-year-old woman to her death under a Berlin U-Bahn train on Tuesday evening had a history of violence and drug abuse in Hamburg, media reports revealed on Thursday.

Berlin U-Bahn killer had history of violence
The U-Bahn platform at Ernst-Reuter-Platz in western Berlin's wealthy Charlottenburg district. Photo: DPA

Twenty-eight-year-old Hamin E., a homeless man from Hamburg, had only arrived in Berlin two hours before the fatal event, newspaper BZ reported on Wednesday.

Passengers on the platform grabbed Hamin, an Iranian national born in Germany who has lived his whole life in the northern port city, after he approached the young woman from behind and suddenly shoved her onto the tracks as a train arrived.

The driver was unable to brake in time, but the other people held the perpetrator until police arrived on the scene.

Hamin is well known to authorities in Hamburg, having served two years and nine months in jail for serious bodily harm and robbery after stabbing another man in 2002 when he was aged only 14. He also has a history of drug abuse.

Berlin prosecutors' spokesman Martin Steltner confirmed to The Local that Hamin had been transferred to a psychiatric clinic on Wednesday evening, saying that “he definitely appears to have reduced responsibility” because of mental health problems.

Swedish connection

Swedish media jumped on the story after it emerged that the young victim had links to the Nordic nation.

A spokesperson for the Swedish Embassy in Berlin told The Local on Thursday that she had been living in Berlin and had both Swedish and German citizenship.

The Swedish Church (Svenska Kyrkan) told newspaper Aftonbladet that it would open its doors to any Swedes living in Germany who were concerned about the woman, who has not been publicly named.

“We have laid out our emergency number on Facebook and we are open all day and evening,” said its rector Lena Brolin.

She said that the church wanted to make sure that Berlin's Swedish population had access to information and support.

“Especially in a crisis, it is important for many to talk about what happened in their own language.”

Maddy Savage contributed reporting

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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