Church Arsonist Confesses in Court

Country: Germany

Date of incident: September 10, 2018

Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Private

A 40-year-old unemployed man appeared in court on 10th of September 2018 for the arson of two churches, St. Jodok in Ravensburg and St. Martin in Schlier. The incidents occurred in March 2018, which we reported at the time. The fire at St. Jodok church in Ravensburg caused at least two million euros in damage. Read more about the first day of trial below.

On the first day of trial, the defendant told the court that he went to St. Martin's Church in Schlier in March, lit candles and prayed. Then he lit a partition screen, and waited for the flames to go out. Afterwards he took the bus to the church of St. Jodok in Ravensburg. There he set a photo of his ex-girlfriend on fire, threw it on the sofa and left the church. He claimed that he did not know what he was doing at the time, and that he had been in a kind of mental "state of emergency."

The court heard that the 40-year-old has been an alcoholic since his youth. On the day of the incidents he said he had already drunk a bottle of liquor and was in a bad mental state after the break-up with his girlfriend. During his testimony, he gave his confession while crying. He said phrases like "That was not me ... I'm a believer and a Catholic."

The defendant did not mention any motive for the arson. After his confession, the court will address the question of whether the man is guilty, or criminally responsible for the crime. If found guilty, he faces imprisonment of up to 15 years. Until the trial, the accused had denied the acts. The investigators found evidence at the crime scenes pointing to the accused. The 40-year-old had been previously imprisoned several times for theft and fraud.

The trial will continue until the end of October 2018. 

Read our report about the March arsons here

Sources: SWRRTLSWP and Focus