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German couple jailed for murder of Chinese student

A court in Dessau has delivered its verdict on the killing of a Chinese student who was raped and savagely beaten to death. One of the accused's parents, a police officer, was initially tasked with the investigation.

A German man who raped and killed a Chinese student after luring her to an empty apartment with his female co-defendant was jailed for life on Friday. The regional court in the eastern town of Dessau-Rosslau handed the man's former partner a five-and-a-half year sentence.

The 25-year-old victim's disfigured body was found abandoned in undergrowth. Prosecutors say that, after the victim was raped and savagely beaten - with blows to the head, torso and extremities - she was left to die in the flat. When the couple returned later and found the victim still alive, they allegedly abandoned her outside.

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Prosecutors had demanded life for the 21-year-old male defendant, Sebastian F. The prosecution asked for his co-defendant Xenia I., also 21 and a mother-of-three, to be given an eight-year sentence because she had shown remorse. Xenia I. was tried for the offense under youth-sentencing procedures.

Parents to appeal sentencing of Xenia I.

Sven Pfeitzner, the lawyer representing the parents of the victim, told DW they were satisfied with the life sentence handed to the murderer of their daughter, but would appeal against that given to Xenia I..

"I am completely in agreement ... that Sebastian F. is receiving the highest penalty possible under German law. The parents ... are also pleased and satisfied that Sebastian F. has to spend his life behind bars and cannot hurt anyone," he said.

"But the parents will take legal action with regard to the fact that Xenia I. has received a prison sentence of just five and a half years under juvenile law. They have already decided to appeal," Pfeitzner added. He said he was of the opinion that Xenia I. had assisted not only in the victim's rape, but also in covering up the entire violent crime.

Defendant 'showed no emotion'

"We have not yet decided whether or not to appeal," said Marco Bennewitz, the lawyer representing Sebastian F. "We are exploring all legal avenues."

Read more: More murder and violence in Germany

Sebastian F., meanwhile, refused to answer the charges against him over 30 days of proceedings.

"I can confirm that my client Sebastian F. did not show any emotion as the verdict was announced either," said Bennewitz. 

The case made headlines in Germany not only for its brutality, but also because the male defendant's mother and stepfather are both police officers - one of whom had been involved in the case. The mother had taken part in early interviews, before there were any suspicions her son might be involved.

Read more: Man admits to dragging ex-girlfriend on rope behind car

Suspicions that the parents might have sought to influence the case were later ruled out.

The parents of the victim were present through much of the court case. Their lawyers had asked for a sentence that would reflect justice.

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