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Germany: Trier rampage driver gets life in prison

August 16, 2022

The attacker was convicted of five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder for driving into a crowd of people in Germany's Trier in 2020. He will also be placed in a high-security psychiatric hospital.

The defendant in the so-called spree driver trial sits in the courtroom before the verdict is announced.
A psychiatrist said the defendant had no memory of the attackImage: Harald Tittel/dpa/picture alliance

The driver of a car which rammed into pedestrians in the German city of Trier in December 2020 was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

Five people were killed — including a nine-week-old baby and the baby's father — when the 52-year-old male drove through a pedestrian zone in his SUV in the western German city that lies in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

He was convicted of five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder. A sixth victim died nearly a year after the attack. 

Rescuers and bystanders in at the scene of the Trier attack
Five people were killed in the Trier attack in December 2020Image: Sebastian Schmitz/lokalo.de/AP Photo/picture alliance

The Trier Regional Court also ordered him to be placed in a high-security psychiatric hospital. 

Prosecutors argued during the year-long trial that the driver had planned the attack with the intention of "killing or injuring as many as possible" with the court accepting this argument.

No recollection of events

According to a psychiatrist's report, the accused suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had no recollection of the events of December 1, 2020.

The psychiatrist explained that the 52-year-old saw himself as the victim of "a large-scale state conspiracy" and felt he was persecuted, bugged and even being monitored.

The trained electrician remained silent throughout the trial.

According to the prosecution, the accused was single, unemployed, without a permanent residence and embittered by his personal circumstances.

The tragic events in Trier brought back memories of a similar attack in Berlin in 2016 when a truck was driven through a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people. The attacker, Anis Amri, was shot dead by police while on the run in Italy.

jsi/dj (AFP, dpa)

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