Sri Lankan swordsman 'needs psychiatric custody'

13th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 December 2005, STUTTGART, GERMANY - Both prosecution and defence lawyers told a German court Monday that long-term psychiatric custody was best for a Sri Lankan man who caused a bloodbath in a Tamil Methodist church.

13 December 2005

STUTTGART, GERMANY - Both prosecution and defence lawyers told a German court Monday that long-term psychiatric custody was best for a Sri Lankan man who caused a bloodbath in a Tamil Methodist church.

Charged with the manslaughter of a 43-year-old woman and wounding three others, the man, 25, has said he did as the voice of God told him. He attacked the congregation with a samurai sword in the city of Stuttgart, Germany.

In court, both sides agreed the man could not be convicted because he was insane. He had to be locked away or he might strike again.

"He does not grasp that he is sick," said the German prosecutor. "It may be that it will not be possible to release him until he is physically no longer capable of hurting other people."

A defence lawyer said the immigrant was himself a victim, of his disease. "When he is cured and understands what happened at his hands, it will have a terrible consequence for him," he told the court in the southern German city.

The bizarre attack on April 3 in the Tamil Church of Christ in the industrial suburb of Zuffenhausen happened as the community was watching a film about the December 26, 2004 tsunami tragedy in their homeland.

"A place of worship, a place of peace and love, was desecrated with blood, torn hair and amputated body parts," said the prosecutor. One man had to have his hand sewn on again by surgeons.

In memorable testimony, the defendant's brother had described to the court how the accused slipped into a religious mania that the family was helpless to prevent, the prosecutor said.

The verdict is expected Wednesday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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