Four teenagers have been handed jail terms for gang raping a 13-year-old girl in a small German town. A court heard how the group ambushed their victim and dragged her into a nearby forest.
A regional court in western Germany sentenced four boys to prison on Monday over the gang rape of a 13-year-old six months ago, local media reported.
Prosecutors said eight boys between the ages of 14 and 17 accosted the girl in the town of Velbert in April when she was walking home from the swimming pool. They pulled her into a nearby patch of woodland and gang raped her until a woman passing by intervened.
All eight defendants are of Bulgarian origin. Six faced the Wuppertal court, while two others who fled to Bulgaria with their families have since been arrested.
Four years for main perpetrators
The closed-door court handed the 15-year-old ringleader a sentence of four years and nine months, while his main accomplice was sentenced to four years, a court spokeswoman told Germany's DPA news agency. They were accused of raping the victim twice and inflicting severe abuse. Both had denied the crime until the last minute, arguing the encounter was consensual.
Prosecutors had demanded up to seven years, according to DPA.
Two of the other boys received lesser terms of two years and one year and eight months. The remaining two were sentenced to probation.
Prosecutors built their case using video footage from one of the boys' mobile phones, as well as DNA samples from the victim and testimony from the female passerby.
The 13-year-old girl also played a key role in bringing her attackers to account — she identified one of the boys after trawling through photos on Facebook. A police patrol in Velbert tracked him down, found a video of the incident saved on his phone, and took him into custody. The footage then led them to the other attackers.