BERLIN (Reuters) – A Somali man went on trial on Friday over the killing of three people and injuring of several others in a stabbing attack in southern Germany last June in proceedings to determine whether he should be held in a closed psychiatric facility.
Investigators believe the man was mentally ill at the time of the attack in the city of Wuerzburg, and so the trial will therefore establish whether he can be held criminally culpable.
He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and serious assault.
His defence attorney, Hans-Jochen Schrepfer, said the suspect had been suffering from a psychotic episode and “voices prompted him to commit this horrible crime.”
The stabbings took place at a shopping mall on Barbarossaplatz, a central square in the Bavarian city, on June 25, 2021. The victims were three women aged 24, 49 and 82,
Four other women were seriously injured, together with a girl aged 11 at the time and a boy aged 16. Three people had minor injuries. The suspect, a refugee who had lived in Wuerzburg since 2015, was arrested after being shot in the thigh, according to police.
The prosecutor general’s office in Munich says the man acted out of hatred toward Germany, where he claims to have been unfairly treated.
(Reporting by Rachel More, Editing by Miranda Murray, William Maclean)