German, 98, found guilty of trying to murder wife

9th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A 98-year-old German man was convicted on Thursday of trying to murder his wife after 52 years of marriage using a gun, a baseball bat and a knife, and given a two-year suspended jail sentence.

The man -- the oldest person ever to stand trial in Berlin, according to the court -- fired blank ammunition at his 74-year-old wife using a starter pistol, thinking it was loaded with live rounds.

When he realised his wife was unharmed, he struck her repeatedly on the head and upper body with the bat and then tried to slit her wrists and throat.

The nonagenarian admitted to attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm, describing the attack as a suicide attempt and saying that he had wanted to end both their lives, a court spokesman said.

The court ruled that the man was of diminished criminal responsibility after a doctor's report said he suffered from dementia and had a distorted perception of reality, the spokesman added.

His wife was in the courtroom but exercised her right not to appear as a witness.

© 2010 AFP

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