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Magnus Gäfgen (born 11 April 1975 in Frankfurt am Main) is a German child murderer. In 2002, he was arrested for the murder of 11 year old Jakob von Metzler, the son of a well-known Frankfurt banker (see Metzler Bank). The following year, Gäfgen was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Gäfgen has a modest family background, but went on to study law at the Goethe University in 1996. On September 27, 2002, he kidnapped Jakob von Metzler in order to blackmail his parents, but killed him in his apartment. Gäfgen then demanded one million euro in ransom from the Metzler family. He was observed by the police when he picked up the ransom. After a few hours, during which he had booked a holiday and not released his victim, who was already dead, he was arrested. After being threatened with torture, as ordered by Frankfurt Police Vice President Wolfgang Daschner, he confessed and told where the body was hidden.
In his conviction for murder to life imprisonment in July 2003, the court established his grave level of guilt (besondere Schwere der Schuld). As a consequence, he is not eligible for early release after 15 years, as is otherwise usual for life prisoners. His appeal to the Federal Court of Justice was rejected in May 2004. His complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court was rejected in December 2004. In 2005, he filed a complaint against Germany at the European Court of Human Rights (partially won in 2010: Germany was convicted for violation of article 3 ECHR (Prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) but was acquitted for violation of article 6 (Right to a fair trial)). Additionally, he sued the state of Hesse and demanded compensation for allegedly suffering trauma after being threatened with torture, however, he lost the case.
Life in Prison
Magnus Gäfgen is serving his life sentence in Schwalmstadt Prison in the state of Hesse. He got his law degree while in prison, and published the autobiography Allein mit Gott – Der Weg zurück in 2005. His plans to establish a "Gäfgen Foundation" that should help children who had been victims of crime sparked controversy, and after authorities stated they would never allow such a foundation to be registered, he dropped the plans.
In August 2011 Markus Gäfgen has won €3,000 in damages over the threat by the police that they would have him tortured. Gäfgen originally wanted €10,000. His liquidator tries to seize the money.
- Adrienne Lochte: Sie werden dich nicht finden. Der Fall Jakob von Metzler. Droemer/Knaur 2004, ISBN 3-426-27345-4
- LG Frankfurt am Main, Urteil vom 28. Juli 2003 – 5/22 Ks 2/03 3490 Js 230118/02
- Grathwohl, Daphne (3 August 2011). "Convicted child murderer sues police for damages". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- Connor, Richard (4 August 2011). "Child murderer wins damages over police torture threat". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "Child murderer awarded damages for police threat". The Local. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "Insolvenzverwalter will Gäfgens Geld". Frankfurter Rundschau Online. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.