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Bürgerpark Pankow in Berlin: Flowers, candles, cuddly toys – mourning after violent death of five-year-old girl

Photo: Paul Zinken / dpa

Nine months after the violent death of a five-year-old girl, the Berlin Regional Court has sentenced the defendant to a juvenile sentence of eight years and nine months for manslaughter. On February 20 of this year, the 21-year-old stabbed several times in the Bürgerpark Pankow on the child of an acquaintance, who was entrusted to him that afternoon. The girl died a short time later in a hospital.

The accused was arrested on the day of the crime after the girl, who had been reported missing, was found lifeless in a bush. Since then, the young man has been in custody. A psychiatric expert had certified that the adolescent had an intellectual disability and cognitive limitations. The verdict is not yet final.

The motive for the crime has remained in the dark during the approximately three-month trial. The defendant did not comment on the allegations. The public prosecutor's office had pleaded for a juvenile sentence of nine years and also requested that the 20-year-old be placed in a psychiatric hospital. The defendant was "extremely dangerous" without treatment, the prosecutor said in her plea. The defense attorneys had requested a sentence not insignificantly below the demand of the public prosecutor's office and had spoken out against a detention.

On the day of the crime, according to witnesses, the young man was supposed to take care of the girl and her three younger siblings on a playground near the park. It wasn't the first time he had taken care of the girl. From there, he then left with the five-year-old, allegedly because the child had to go to the toilet. A little later, the then 19-year-old came back alone.