French dad admits ordering rough-justice kidnap

23rd October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Charged with kidnapping, assault and criminal conspiracy, an elderly Frenchman admitted to French media that he gave the go-ahead for the kidnap of the German doctor convicted of killing his daughter.

Paris -- An elderly Frenchman admitted Thursday he ordered the vigilante kidnapping of a German doctor convicted of killing his daughter 27 years ago, and had him delivered bound and gagged to the court.

Andre Bamberski, 72, was arrested in Mulhouse near the German border with a suitcase of cash in his hotel room, after tipping off police about the whereabouts of cardiologist Dieter Krombach.

Krombach, 74, the second husband of Bamberski's wife, was found Sunday in a doorway in the eastern French city, tied up and bleeding from a head injury.

A French court in 1995 convicted the doctor in absentia of manslaughter over the death of 14-year-old Kalinka Bamberski, his stepdaughter, who died at his home near Lake Constance in 1982 after he gave her a mysterious injection.

Moved to a Paris hospital, Krombach was ordered detained Wednesday night at a bail hearing held at his hospital bedside. He now faces a new trial in France.

Berlin had refused to hand him over on the grounds that he was tried and acquitted in Germany, but Bamberski spent two decades trying to have him sent to jail, convinced that he drugged Kalinka in order to rape her.

Charged with kidnapping, assault and criminal conspiracy, Bamberski admitted to French media that he gave the go-ahead for the kidnap and would suffer the consequences.

"I will accept my share of responsibility," he said on Europe 1 radio after he was freed on bail.

"This is the fight of my life," he said. "I sacrificed my career, my private life, I went into early retirement."

"I am relieved. I am at peace with myself. I kept the promise I made on my daughter's grave," he told Le Parisien newspaper.

With the statute of limitations for Kalinka's killing set to expire in 2015, the former accountant from southwestern France said kidnapping was the only way to obtain "justice."

He said he was approached in Bregenz on the Austrian side of Lake Constance, where he travelled on Krombach's trail, by a stranger who heard of his campaign and offered to deliver the doctor to France.

"I simply agreed to cover the person's expenses -- I still don't know their name -- for up to 20,000 euros," he said. "So far I have not paid anything."

A man claiming to have taken part in the kidnapping surrendered Tuesday to Austrian authorities.

Questioned after Kalinka's death in 1982, Krombach told German investigators he injected her with an iron-based solution to help her tan faster. He later said it was a remedy for anaemia.

German prosecutors found that the injection "probably" caused her death but dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

But France reopened it following an autopsy on Kalinka's exhumed body, convicting the doctor of manslaughter in 1995.

The German cardiologist won a 2001 case against France before the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled he was denied a fair hearing and the right to an appeal in the case.

Consular authorities in Germany have demanded access to Krombach, the German foreign ministry said.

His lawyer, Francois Serres, said his client was "suffering greatly from his incarceration" and would appeal.

"He considers this to be a death sentence. He is 74 and has already had several heart attacks," Serres said.

The cardiologist was stripped of his licence and handed a suspended jail sentence in 1997 for sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient after injecting her with anaesthetic in his surgery.

The French courts now have up to a year to organise a new trial, judicial officials said.

Emma Charlton/AFP/Expatica

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