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Bonn manslaughter suspect denies assault on youth

Police in Bonn say they have arrested a key suspect in a youth manslaughter case that has drawn nationwide attention. He's accused of stomping on the head of his victim in a flashpoint suburb of Germany's former capital.

Prosecutors said Wednesday the suspect, a 20-year-old Bonn resident, had denied involvement but had contradicted himself during questioning since being arrested on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old victim, identified only as Niklas P. under Germany's privacy laws, died last Thursday from massive head wounds inflicted six days earlier when he was heading home from a nighttime rock concert.

He and friends were accosted by at least three young men as they approached a local railway station in Bad Godesberg, a suburb once full of embassies and now an unsettled mix of wealthy villas, many nationalities, street gangs and

Salafists.

State attorney Robin Fassbender said Niklas was first toppled by a blow to his forehead during a scuffle. As he lay on the ground motionless, his head was stomped on heavily.

Fassbender said witnesses had identified the accused, an Italian passport holder, who had lived in Bonn for some years and was known for previous acts of violence.

"He has denied any complicity but contradicted himself during questioning," Fassbender said.

Two other suspects arrested on Tuesday had since been set free, he added.

Outcry amid speculation

Niklas' death last week triggered an outpouring of emotion nationwide amid speculation about the attacker's origins.

Bonn police registered 400,000 entries on their Facebook portal. Public perceptions about security had been strongly affected, said police spokesman Robert Scholten.

Last Saturday, a far-right rally drew 50 protestors. A counter-demonstration organized by churches, trade unions and political parties drew 400 people.

Deutschland Oberbürgermeisterwahl Ashok-Alexander Sridharan

Preventative 'round table' talks planned by mayor Sridharan

'Round table' to prevent violence

Bonn's new mayor Ashok-Alexander Sridharan of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party, who heads a city

proud of its international links,

has proposed a "round table" meeting of civic groups and agencies to boost efforts to avoid youth violence.

The funeral for Niklas P., a resident of Bad Breisig, a town on the Rhine, 30 kilometers upriver from Bonn, is to take place this coming Saturday.

ipj/bw (AFP, dpa, EPD)

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