Severed head in front of the Regional Court in Bonn Suspect remains silent about the crime
Bonn · At the Bonn Regional Court on Tuesday evening, a 38-year-old man placed a human head. The police arrested the alleged perpetrator. The victim is a 44-year-old presumed homeless man. The body, which is believed to belong to him, was found at the Old Customs.
The otherwise busy corner around Bonn's Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz is eerily quiet on Tuesday evening. No trams are running, passers-by stop at the police cordons. The traces of the terrible event that took place here at around 5.30 pm are covered by a black tarpaulin. It is stretched between the ancient columns of the district court. Behind it lies the head of a 44-year-old man. His body lies severed about a kilometre away on the Rhine, below the Old Customs, against a wall covered with graffiti.
The police are not yet able to say what exactly happened. The investigations are still in full swing, a homicide squad has been set up. "The motives for the crime are still unclear," said police spokesman Robert Scholten. The body is to be examined by forensic medicine in the course of the day, Scholten further announced early Wednesday morning.
A suspect has already been caught. The 38-year-old, who according to GA information belongs to the homeless milieu, admitted to having put down the head. However, he had correctly described to the investigators where the body was found near the banks of the Rhine, the spokesman said. The man is expected to be brought before a magistrate on Wednesday. He has so far remained silent about the background to the crime. The 38-year-old is known to the police for drug offences, among other things. He was crouching on the stairs of the neighbouring district court in Wilhelmstraße when the police arrived. Passers-by had called 911 and reported a severed body part.
Crime scene and time still unclear
According to Scholten, it is not yet clear exactly where and when the crime took place. Although it is obvious that the 44-year-old came to his death at the somewhat remote wall below the Old Customs, where homeless people often spend the night. "But so far we only have two places where the body was found. The route the suspect took is also unknown. We can only describe the area at the moment." It is about a 15-minute walk between the district court and the Old Customs. It is now the task of the homicide squad to break all this down.
Because there are no video recordings so far and also no meaningful witnesses, the police officers are dependent on the help of the population. While the place where the body was found at the Old Customs was cordoned off, many people were still sitting above it in the beer garden and on the nearby meadow.
„We have not received any reports from the area," said Scholten - although the entire area is frequented by many walkers, especially in the evening hours. "We are therefore asking anyone who has made suspicious observations, photos or videos to contact us." For this, the police can be reached on 0228/150.
Someone who did notice something, at least in Wilhelmstraße, is a young man who was sitting with his friends in the outdoor area of Bonner Stuben, a bar. "At first we thought there was an object lying there. Only afterwards did we recognise the hair," he says, visibly shocked. His friends confirm his statements.
District Court President Stefan Weismann also rushed to his office building on Tuesday evening when he heard about the incident. "We are supporting the police in their investigation," a court spokeswoman explained. It was not possible to make any assessments at the moment.
The police were still on duty in the entire area until late in the evening and searched the sites with sniffer dogs, among other things. Police spokesperson Scholten explained that the tools of the crime have not been found yet.
Late on Tuesday evening, an undertaker picked up the head and the body at around 11 pm. Beforehand, the THW (Technisches Hilfswerk) had illuminated the crime scene and erected better visual protection walls. The large police operation caused numerous traffic obstructions.
Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach and Matthias Kehrein
Translation: Mareike Graepel