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German schoolgirls confess to fatal stabbing of 12-year-old

By AFP - Mar 14,2023 - Last updated at Mar 14,2023

FRANKFURT, Germany — Two schoolgirls have confessed to stabbing to death a 12-year-old girl in Germany, police said on Tuesday, in a case that has shocked the country.

The victim, known only as Luise, went missing on Saturday afternoon after leaving a friend’s house near the town of Freudenberg, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Luise’s body was found the following day in a wooded area not far from her home.

“The child died as a result of numerous knife wounds and the resulting loss of blood,” Koblenz Prosecutor Mario Mannweiler told a press conference, adding that there was “no indication of a sexual offence”.

Two girls, aged 12 and 13, had confessed to the murder, added Florian Locker, head of Koblenz police’s homicide department.

The two girls “made statements about the matter and in the end admitted the crime”, Locker said.

The girls and Luise knew each other, Mannweiler added.

But he declined to give further details because of the age of the suspects, who are too young to be held criminally responsible for their actions in Germany.

In Germany, the age of criminal responsibility starts at 14 years.

Investigators have yet to find the knife or knives used in the attack, Mannweiler added.

“This is of course a very unusual and shocking act, even for us,” Mannweiler told reporters.

 

Flowers and candles 

 

Luise had been meant to walk home from her friend’s place but her parents raised the alarm on Saturday evening after she failed to return.

Her disappearance sparked a massive search operation that included dozens of police, a helicopter, drones and sniffer dogs.

The regional leader of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Hendrik Wuest, said the killing had left him “stunned”.

“It’s unimaginable and almost unbearable that children could be capable of such acts,” he said.

Local residents placed flowers and candles near the woodland area where Luise’s body was found. Police officers were still scouring the crime scene for evidence on Tuesday.

Luise’s school replaced its homepage with a message of condolence.

“We lost our pupil, classmate and friend Luise at the weekend,” the Esther-Bejarano comprehensive school in Freudenberg said in the statement.

“Far too early, she was violently torn from our midst and from her family. Our thoughts and wishes are with her family and friends now and in the coming days.”

The case revived memories of the notorious 1993 murder of two-year-old James Bulger in England. The toddler was abducted and tortured before he was killed by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.

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