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Volkmarsen: Securing evidence at the crime scene (2020)

Photo: Uwe Zucchi/ dpa

Dozens of people, including 26 children, were injured, some seriously, when a man deliberately drove his car into a Shrove Monday procession in the town of Volkmarsen on February 24, 2020.

After the rampage, a 54-year-old reported the victim of the incident to the responsible authorities. Subsequently, he was awarded injury and sickness benefits by the health insurance company. He pretended to be an eyewitness to the crime and a first responder, who had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. The accident insurance company therefore paid for his inpatient treatment in a trauma clinic.

Then doubts arose. The district court of Korbach should decide whether the man may have falsely pretended to be a victim in order to obtain money and treatment.

"It's true that I wasn't there"

On Monday, the verdict was announced: The 54-year-old was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for commercial fraud in three cases - two of them for attempted fraud. In view of the horrific events in Volkmarsen, the act was "morally difficult to comprehend," the judge said.

To the defendant's credit, he had confessed on the last day of the trial, having previously denied the allegations. "It's true that I wasn't there," said the defendant, who has several previous convictions for fraud. He said he was sorry and wanted to pay for the damage.

As the man admitted, he was in his apartment in Bad Arolsen on the day of the rampage and only learned about the events from the media. According to the court, a total of around 41,000 euros in damage was caused. In addition, the 54-year-old tried twice unsuccessfully to obtain a compensation for pain and suffering from associations to help traffic victims.

In addition to the custodial sentence, the judge ordered the confiscation of the value obtained. The defendant is also ordered to pay the costs.

The prosecution had demanded a total prison sentence of three years. She emphasized the "particular reprehensibleness" of the act. The defense had pleaded for a punishment commensurate with the guilt and the crime. The verdict is not yet final.