German poacher given life in prison for shooting dead two police officers

Access to the comments Comments
By AP  with Euronews
Flowers and candles lie near Kusel at the scene where the two police officers were shot.
Flowers and candles lie near Kusel at the scene where the two police officers were shot.   -   Copyright  Sebastian Gollnow/dpa via AP

A German poacher has been sentenced to life imprisonment for fatally shooting two young police officers.

The 39-year-old man -- identified only as Andreas S. -- was convicted by a court in Kaiserslautern on Wednesday.

Judges heard that the man had shot the two police officers dead after they stopped him and an accomplice on suspicion of poaching and found their vehicle "full of wild animals".

The shooting occurred in the early hours of January 31 near Kusel.

The victims were a 29-year-old male officer and his 24-year-old female colleague, who had nearly completed her training.

The court dismissed the defendant’s claim that he had acted in self-defence and ruled that he will not be automatically eligible for parole after 15 years, due to the severity of the crime.

The man's accomplice, a 33-year-old man, was only found guilty of commercial poaching after assisting investigators. The verdicts can be appealed.

Fatal attacks on police are rare in Germany and the killings of the two young officers prompted widespread outrage and condemnation.

German investigators had recorded nearly 400 cases of online hate speech in the days after the fatal shooting.

On Wednesday, police searched homes and questioned suspects as part of an annual nationwide crackdown against online hate.

Federal police say more than 2,000 politically motivated crimes committed online are recorded each year in Germany, with many more not reported.

Interior minister Nancy Faeser said that crimes committed on social media, messaging apps, and Internet forums provide "fertile ground for extremist violence."

“We need to draw clear lines here and get the culprits out of their supposed anonymity,” she added.