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CRIME

Woman flees with a stranger’s baby 250 km away to Hanover

A woman has been arrested after snatching a baby from her mother in Potsdam and fleeing to Lower Saxony.

Woman flees with a stranger's baby 250 km away to Hanover
File photo: DPA.

The 19-year-old woman had approached the baby’s 35-year-old mother while she was grocery shopping with her three children on Thursday afternoon, police report.

The younger woman offered to take care of the mother’s four-month-old baby girl, who was in a carriage, while the mother brought her groceries into her flat.

When the mother returned, her baby and the woman had disappeared. The mother then called the police, who launched an extensive search with dogs, helicopters and emergency officers.

Police eventually found that the 19-year-old had fled to Lower Saxony with the baby – around 250 kilometres away from Potsdam.

Several hours later at around 8pm on Thursday, the woman was arrested in Hanover, police reported. The baby was found unharmed.

Due to organizational complications, however, the mother could not be reunited with her baby until Friday morning, a police spokesman said.

Police also reported that the 19-year-old had acted alone and did not make any demands.

Investigators so far do not believe that the woman and mother knew each other previously, and the motive behind the crime thus far remains unclear.

CRIME

US man confesses to murder of tourist by famed Neuschwanstein castle

An American man accused of raping and killing a fellow US tourist near Bavaria's famed Neuschwanstein castle last year made a wide-ranging confession on the first day of his trial Monday.

US man confesses to murder of tourist by famed Neuschwanstein castle

Troy Philipp B. faces several charges including one count of murder over the death of the 21-year-old woman. He also stands accused of the attempted murder of the victim’s friend, also an American citizen.

“The accused committed the incomprehensible act,” his lawyer Philip Müller told the district court in the southern town of Kempten.

The two women, then 21 and 22 years old, had been hiking in the Neuschwanstein area in June last year when they met B., who offered to take them to a viewpoint, investigators said.

At a secluded spot, the man, then 30, allegedly pushed the 21-year-old woman to the ground and proceeded to rape and strangle her.

Her friend intervened, leading to a scuffle in which the accused allegedly pushed the 22-year-old off a steep slope.

The accused then continued his sexual assault of the 21-year-old woman, strangling her with a belt while filming the act.

Interrupted by hikers who stumbled on the crime, he pushed the rape victim down the same slope while she was unconscious.

When mountain rescue workers found the two women, the 22-year-old was injured but able to talk.

The rape victim was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to hospital, where she died later that night from her injuries.

READ ALSO: US tourist dies after assault at famed Bavarian castle

‘Deeply ashamed’

B.’s lawyer said the accused had not planned the attack in advance.

“He was aware that the victim could die without help, yet he still left her behind,” Müller told the court.

His client was “deeply ashamed” about his actions and wished to apologise to the victim’s family, the lawyer added.

B., who hails from the US state of Michigan, spoke only to confirm the accuracy of his lawyer’s statement to the court.

He is not expected to make any further comments during the trial, scheduled to run until March 13th.

Germany’s top-selling daily Bild reported that the rescue operation and his subsequent arrest took place in front of hundreds of tourists.

Built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein castle is one of the most visited sites in Germany, attracting over a million visitors a year.

B. faces up to life in prison if convicted.

B. on Monday also confessed to possession of child pornography, which investigators uncovered as part of their probe into the attack.

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