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Henriette Reker attacker 'should get life behind bars,' say German prosecutors

Prosecutors in the western German city of Düsseldorf have said that a 44-year-old man who stabbed Cologne mayor Henriette Reker in the neck should be jailed for life. Frank S. is charged with attempted murder.

Federal prosecutors at the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf said on Thursday that the defendant should be handed a life sentence, after confessing himself that he attacked a defenseless victim.

A day before she was elected as Cologne mayor last year, Henriette Reker was stabbed in the neck with a hunting knife.

The alleged perpetrator Frank S.

approached the politician at a campaign event on October 17

to offer her a rose, before drawing out his weapon and stabbing her in the neck. Four bystanders were also injured in the attack.

"I was very afraid that I could be paralyzed," Reker recalled in court.

'Determined to kill'

As a result of the attack, Reker was induced into an artificial coma and continues to receive treatment eight months later.

Opening the trial in May, the prosecution said the defendant was "determined to kill."

Frank S. denied intending to kill Reker, however, claiming that the knife blade was "totally blunt."

"I wanted to hurt her," he admitted in court,

adding that if he had wanted to kill her, he could have easily done it.

Motive driven by refugee crisis

As for his motive for the attack, the defendant said he was worried about the "self-destruction of Germany."

"I saw it as a final opportunity to change something," Frank S. said, adding that he wanted to set an example. "The whole political situation depressed me."

According to the prosecutors, Frank S. attacked Reker for her welcoming stance towards refugees and foreigners arriving in Germany. Before running for mayor as an independent, Reker was a coordinator in charge of housing refugees in Cologne.

If convicted of attempted murder, the alleged attacker could face life imprisonment. His lawyers, however, claim the stabbing should be classified as grievous bodily harm (GBH), which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

The verdict is expected to be announced on July 1.

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