German couple convicted of murder for abusing, killing women
BERLIN (AP) — A man and his ex-wife were convicted Friday of murder through neglect for luring women to their home in western Germany and abusing two so badly that they died.
In a case that has drawn national attention, Angelika W., 49, received 13 years in prison from the Paderborn state court and her ex-husband Wilfried W., 48, was sentenced to serve 11 years in psychiatric care, the dpa news agency reported. Their last names were not given in line with German privacy laws.
The two were found to have tortured at least eight women physically and emotionally at their house in nearby Hoexter over several years. One woman died in the hospital and another’s body was never found because the defendants allegedly burned it and scattered the ashes around town.
Defense lawyers had sought the charges to be reduced to attempted murder and bodily harm for Wilfried W. and an acquittal for Angelika W.
During the trial, which started two years ago, prosecutors told the court the couple sought women as slaves for Wilfried W.
They lured the women with personal ads in newspapers, then took them captive, prosecutors said. They sought to break their victims’ will with violence — kicking their legs, scalding their skin and making them sleep in a cold barn.
Authorities began investigating the couple after the two called an ambulance when their car broke down in early 2016 and rescuers found a woman inside suffering from head injuries and other abuse. She died shortly afterward in a hospital and doctors alerted police to the signs of abuse.
Prosecutors said the woman had been held in the couple’s house for nearly two months and had been made to sleep in an unheated room on a floor. An autopsy showed she suffered from blows to the head, among other injuries.
After they were questioned, authorities said Angelika W. told them she had been involved in another woman’s death in 2014. After she was killed, that victim’s body was cut up and stored in the freezer, and pieces were removed and burned in the couple’s fireplace over time, police said. The couple allegedly used the victim’s phone to continue sending text messages to her mother.