German prosecutors charge car ramming suspect for murder

Berlin – German prosecutors today filed murder charges against a man accused of killing five people including a baby when he tore his car through a pedestrian shopping in the southwestern city of Trier in December.

Beyond the five counts of murder, the 51-year-old also faces 18 counts of attempted murder and 14 cases of grievous bodily harm over the car ramming, Trier prosecutors said in a statement.

The suspect, who was not named, had given only “rudimentary and in part contradictory information” during police questioning, they said.

“He had essentially claimed that he has no recollection of the details of the crime,” they said, adding that the suspect had not given any “comprehensive explanation” of his motive.

Investigators believe however that he was driven by “personal motives”.

The unemployed man, who has no fixed address, was “apparently frustrated by his living conditions” and had the impression he was being discriminated against, said prosecutors.

“From this background, he developed a tense emotional state which, according to the assessment of the prosecutor’s office, could be the trigger for the crime,” they added.

Germany has seen a series of vehicle attacks by people who were later found to have psychological problems.

In January 2019, a German man injured eight people when he drove into crowds on New Year’s Eve in the western cities of Bottrop and Essen. He was later taken into psychiatric care.

In February 2020, a German man swerved his car into a traditional carnival procession, injuring dozens. Investigators ruled out a political motive. — AFP

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