Germany crossbow killings: Police investigate sectarian links between victims

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By Sinead Barry
The hotel in Germany where three of the bodies were found.
The hotel in Germany where three of the bodies were found.   -  Copyright  AFP

German police are investigating possible links to a sect and a suicide pact in the case of five deaths that happened in two towns more than 650 kilometres apart.

Over the weekend three people — a 53-year-old man and two women, aged 30 and 33 — were found dead and impaled by crossbow bolts in a hotel room in Passau, Bavaria. 

The autopsy concluded that two had died from shots to the heart, while the third was killed by a shot to the neck. 

Then two more bodies of women — aged 35 and 19 were — later found in Wittingen, northern Germany, in the apartment of the 30-year-old woman who died in the hotel.

The guests had booked a triple room at the hotel for three nights, arriving on Friday evening. There was heavy rainfall that night which, combined with the rushing sounds of the nearby River Ilz, could explain why no-one in the hotel heard unusual coming noise from the room, according to Euronews German journalists.

The bodies of the man and the 33-year-old woman were found holding hands on the hotel bed. The body of the 30-year-old woman, who died from a shot to the neck, was found on the floor.

German police are investigating the links between the victims. All are thought to have shared a passion for alchemy and medieval imagery.

The 53-year-old man, identified only as Torsten W., was the owner of a medieval shop in western Germany, where he sold swords, daggers and helmets in the style of the Middle Ages as well as ''hydromel'', an ancestral drink known as ''the gods' nectar''. 

The man, who had a long grey beard, was tattooed with alchemy symbols and organised sword-fighting events.

According to local media RTL Germany, which cited sources close to the investigation, the man is believed to have acted as a ''guru'' for the group, in which members shared intimate relationships. Some victims had severed links with their families, RTL reported. According to the German newspaper Bild, all victims were also members of a knights tournament league, which organised jousting fights.

''There is no element proving that the people present [in the hotel] had fought,'', the Bavarian police said on Tuesday, indicating that the suicidal pact option was, therefore, the most likely. 

The wills of the two people who were found on the hotel bed have been discovered in the room. 

The bodies of the two female victims in the apartment show ''no sign of external violence'', the police added. 

Tests are ongoing to determine whether the victims had taken medicine or drugs before their deaths.

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