German couple get life for starving son to death
20 February 2006, COTTBUS, GERMANY - A couple who starved their six-year-old son to death and hid his body in a freezer for two-and-a-half years were given life sentences by a court in the eastern German city of Cottbus on Monday.
20 February 2006
COTTBUS, GERMANY - A couple who starved their six-year-old son to death and hid his body in a freezer for two-and-a-half years were given life sentences by a court in the eastern German city of Cottbus on Monday.
Angelika B. and her 38-year-old husband Falk were found guilty of causing the death of their son Dennis after a four-month trial that saw the original charge of manslaughter upgraded to murder.
The court heard a chilling tale of how the jobless parents systematically withheld food from the little boy over a period of months or years until he fell ill and died.
"Dennis was an unloved child. His mother hated him. When he was naughty she tied him to his bed, sometimes for days on end," the prosecutor said during the proceedings.
Dennis, the seventh of 11 children, was placed in a home at the age of six months but taken back by his parents 20 months later in September 1996.
His abuse began some time later and by the time he was five he weighed only 7 kilogrammes. From mid-2000 he was not allowed outdoors because the parents feared people would notice that he had been mistreated, the court heard.
The 44-year-old mother told the court that her son collapsed with fever in December 2001 and died while her other children were out enjoying a Christmas market. Afraid of the consequences she hid his body in the kitchen freezer.
Medical experts told the court that if the mother had called a doctor the boy might have survived.
School authorities who wanted to know why Dennis was not at school were told he was either sick in hospital or being treated in a rehabilitation centre.
It was not until June 2004 that a social worker became suspicious and alerted police, who searched the couple's high-rise apartment where they found the body.
Subject: German news