German beats neighbour to death with snow shovel: police

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A row over snow clearing in Germany ended in tragedy after a man smashed his neighbour over the head with a shovel, killing him on the spot, police said on Tuesday.

Following what police described as "years of arguing," the two neighbours, aged 45 and 49, got into a heated discussion over who was responsible for removing snow from the joint entrance to their properties, authorities said.

The 45-year-old then whacked his neighbour, 49, over the head with the shovel. "He was so badly injured that he died on the spot," Lutz Flassnoecker, a police spokesman, told AFP.

The attack took place in the tiny town of Schnellenbach, in western Germany.

Police declined to give out the names but mass circulation daily Bild named the 45-year-old as father-of-eight Abdulbah I. and the 49-year-old victim as Wolfgang K.

Bild cited another Schnellenbach resident as saying that K. had "frequently provoked" I. The paper said the row stemmed from the fact that K. had built his house too close to his neighbour's, depriving him of his view.

Wolfgang K. leaves behind a son Marco, 17, and a daughter Jenny, 13, who last year also lost their mother to a heart attack, according to Bild.

Police in nearby Cologne have set up a murder investigation, Flassnoecker said.

Like most of northern Europe, Germany has for weeks been blanketed with a thick layer of snow.

© 2010 AFP

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