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Delusional and on a mission: 61-year-old in court after fire at Deutsche Welle

Delusional and on a mission : 61-year-old in court after fire at Deutsche Welle

Originally, the 61-year-old arsonist wanted to „save the world from the United Nations“: Instead, he stopped at the wrong door and set a fire at Deutsche Welle in Bonn. In court, the public prosecutor's office is now applying for placement in a psychiatric clinic.

The arsonist may have made a mistake at the front door when he appeared in the evening of February 16, 2020 with a full gasoline canister in the entrance area of Deutsche Welle. For the 61-year-old, who was determined and highly concentrated in his work, had - as it later turned out - a delusional mission: He wanted to save the world from destruction by the UN, according to his imagination, he also wanted to kill himself. The United Nations was the devil's work. The confused saviour was only mistaken about the address: The entrance to the UN high-rise - the former parliament building "Langer Eugen" - is right around the corner from the Deutsche Welle.

No question for the Bonn public prosecutor's office, confirms authority spokesman Sebastian Buß: The 61-year-old caretaker committed the crimes in a state of incapacity to be judged guilty. In addition to attempted arson, the man is also accused of threatening behaviour, endangering road traffic and illegal car racing. Because of his dangerous state, the prosecutor has requested that he be placed in a psychiatric clinic.

According to the petition, the 61-year-old is said to have poured gasoline on the carpet in front of the entrance of Deutsche Welle at about 7 p.m. and tried to start a fire under the door with the help of matches and toilet paper. Although he knew that there were still many people in the building at that time. When he lit the fire, he was soon discovered and driven away by security personnel.

Two hours later, however, he drove up in his car again. Again with a filled petrol canister - and this time also with a homemade carpenter's hammer (a hammer to which a knife is already attached). When the guards tried to stop him from his mission again, he threatened them with the gun. The guards then took refuge inside the radio station - and alerted the police.

Police chase on the B9

With four patrol cars it ended in a pursuit race on the B 9 towards Bad Godesberg. According to the application, the 61-year-old allegedly drove "recklessly and in gross violation of traffic regulations at up to 90 kilometres per hour" across the diplomatic race track; he is said to have crossed at least three intersections at a red light - and forced numerous road users to make emergency stops. Finally, the police slowed him down and cut him off. The 61-year-old was arrested without resistance. Since then he has been in a psychiatric hospital. The trial will take place soon before the tenth Grand Criminal Chamber of the Bonn Regional Court.

(Original text: Ulrike Schödel / Translation: Mareike Graepel)