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Suspect denies raping Bulgarian journalist

October 12, 2018

The suspect in the rape and murder of Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova has confessed to some parts of the crime. German authorities are to extradite the man to Bulgaria.

Bulgarians place flowers and candles around a photograph of Viktoria Marinova
Image: Getty Images/AFP/D. Dilkoff

German prosecutors on Friday said the suspect in the killing of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova had given a partial confession.

The body of 30-year-old Marinova, who presented a current affairs talk program called "Detector" for the small TVN television channel, was found on a riverside path in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse on Saturday.

Read more: Bulgaria corruption in spotlight after journalist Viktoria Marinova's murder

Authorities said Marinova died from blows to the head and suffocation and was also raped.

Was the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova linked to her work?

The 20-year-old man admitted to hitting a woman whom he did not know in a park on the banks of the Danube before throwing her in a bush while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

But the man said "he did not want to kill the victim and denied raping her," the public prosecutor's office in the northern German city Celle said in a statement.

"The arrested man admitted to the court that he had a verbal argument with the victim on October 6, 2018," the statement said.

"He was under the strong influence of alcohol and drugs and punched the woman in the face, at which point she fell down. He then picked her up and threw her in a bush but said he then left the scene," the statement continued.

Suspect wanted for previous rape and murder

Bulgaria's chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, said the suspect was already wanted in connection with another rape and murder.

Poor press freedom in Bulgaria had led some people to suggest Marinova's death was linked to her work, but Bulgarian prosecutors have said that the killing does not appear to be connected to the victim's journalism career.

The suspect was taken into custody in the northern German city of Stade earlier this week and is expected to be extradited to Bulgaria on the basis of a European arrest warrant in the coming days, the court said.

Hundreds of people were expected to attend a funeral service for Marinova in her hometown of Ruse on Friday.

law/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)