A state court has found an 81 year-old man guilty of manslaughter, after he shot a teenage gang member who had threatened him with a gun, dragged him off his crutches, and robbed his home.
The robbery, which took place in 2010 took place after a female caller had told her associates that the victim, then 77, was wealthy and lived alone in Stade, Germany. The case was originally considered to be a clean-cut case of self defence, but years of campaigning by the parents of the 16-year-old thief who died led to the state prosecutor becoming involved, reports theLocal.de.
After learning about the man, who is identified as Ernst B, a gang of five young men attacked him in the grounds of his home in Sittensen, Lower Saxony, threatening him with an imitation firearm and stealing more than €2,000. The court heard Ernst had read of another recent robbery in his neighbourhood where the homeowner had been murdered, and believed he has already heard a firearm discharged that night, and consequently “the defendant was scared to death” by the attack in which he believed he too would be killed.
After the defendants house alarm began to sound, the youths tried to escape with the proceeds of their robbery, but Ernst fired after them with a hunting rifle. While the court agreed he had acted under “acute stress”, whether he had technically exceeded the limits of self defence was under consideration. Despite advice from both the state prosecutors office and Ernst B’s defence lawyer to clear him on charges, the court found him guilty of manslaughter.
With mitigating circumstances considered, the judge gave Ernst a nine month suspended sentence, meaning if he doesn’t break the conditions of his parole he will not go to jail.
The other four men involved in the robbery were sentenced to prison sentences in 2011 for their parts in the affair.