The body was never found – but the court is convinced that the 55-year-old defendant murdered a woman at Lake Würmsee near Hanover. On Monday the man was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Hanover Regional Court also determined the particular severity of the guilt. This means that it is almost impossible for the man to be released from prison after 15 years. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

The judges were convinced that the German from Warburg in East Westphalia attacked a 56-year-old woman living alone in her arbor on the Würmsee in Burgwedel on the night of September 11, 2022. Neither of them knew each other before. The defendant stabbed the unsuspecting and defenseless woman as she lay in her bed at night in order to exert power, said presiding judge Martin Grote. He abused her purely as an object to discharge his urges and to increase his self-worth.

The slight defendant watched the 45-minute verdict attentively with a serious look. The 55-year-old with thinning hair and a long gray beard remained silent about the allegations during the trial. According to the court, however, numerous indicators such as blood and DNA traces convicted him as the perpetrator, even if the victim’s body was never found.

The married father of a daughter was also convicted of aggravated robbery and grievous bodily harm. A few days before the killing at Würmsee, he attacked a senior citizen in Warburg and threw her to the ground. The 79-year-old still suffers mentally and physically from the consequences of the brutal attack on a forest path, as she described as a witness.

With the verdict, the judges largely followed the prosecutor’s request. However, the prosecution had argued for an order of so-called preventive detention, which is intended to protect the general public from dangerous criminals. The defense, however, had requested an acquittal.

In his verdict, the presiding judge drafted a psychogram of the defendant, who lived for long periods in accordance with his biography. In stressful situations, however, he sometimes disappeared into nature for weeks. He tried to gain relief and increase his battered self-esteem by exercising dominance over defenseless women he did not know. “He is concerned with the maximum exercise of power, the maximum exposure of his victim,” said Grote.

The prosecution had accused him of murder to satisfy sexual desire. The judges could not clearly prove this, but saw the murder characteristics of insidiousness and base motives as proven.

The man had already been sentenced to five years in prison for attempted murder by the Kassel regional court in 2002 for a knife attack on a woman he did not know. According to Grote, the trigger at the time was that he found out that his brother had been addicted to drugs for six years. This time the defendant’s suspicion that his uncle could actually be his father was said to have been the trigger for the disappearance and excessive violence.

During this phase a year ago, the 55-year-old told his family that he had traveled to Portugal. In fact, according to the court, he had been spying on the 56-year-old in her remote wooden hut on Lake Würmsee for days. The woman had lived there with her dog and cat. All those involved in the process ruled out suicide or voluntary leaving their home. The evening before the crime, the woman had bought rolls for a date with a friend the next morning. Her son was represented by a lawyer as a co-plaintiff during the trial.

Despite the missing body, the investigators were even able to reconstruct the time of the attack, because on September 11, 2022 at midnight, the woman’s cell phone reported a water entry. The perpetrator, masked with a balaclava, had recently cut up the mattress on her waterbed, said the presiding judge. The 55-year-old’s balaclava with DNA traces was also found behind the woman’s bed.