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Start of the trial in the murder case Jan H .: Mother accused of murder

2021-09-14T17:49:50.491Z

Four-year-old Jan H. died in 1988 in the house of a former pastor. Now the trial against the boy's mother begins. What role did she play in the death of her child?



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Defendant Claudia H .: "Desperate Mother"

Photo: Arne Dedert / dpa

The child, who was described by his mother as "mean" and "heartless", lived to be four years old.

Then Jan H. died. The lines in his mother Claudia H.'s diary sound as if the boy deserved nothing else.

That was 33 years ago.

For decades, no one cared about the exact circumstances of death.

Until the "Frankfurter Rundschau" made the case public in autumn 2014: It was about a religious self-help group, founded by the former pastor Walter D. and his wife Sylvia, created with the idea of ​​interpreting dreams of God and passing on his messages.

Dropouts told the newspaper of brainwashing and assaults - and also of the boy's mysterious death on August 17, 1988. Jan was found dead in the group's house.

His parents had quartered there.

A year ago, the Hanau regional court sentenced the group's leader, Sylvia D., to life imprisonment for the murder of Jan.

"He screamed in despair, was beside himself"

Jan's mother had testified as a witness in the trial against the 74-year-old. For four days, for a total of 17 hours, she was questioned about her disturbing diary entries, about her distant behavior towards her son and about her support for a woman who had stolen her own child. Your statements, your appearance - shocking. Claudia H. was arrested one day after the verdict against Sylvia D. was pronounced.

And so on that day, Chief Public Prosecutor Dominik Mies rises in the same room of the Hanau Regional Court in which he indicted Sylvia D. and explains why Claudia H. is also to blame for the death of little Jan. The 60-year-old, a doctor of biology seems tense. She wears a sand-colored blazer and tinted glasses. Her husband, Jan's father, is in the audience. He came accompanied by former supporters of the group.

Chief Public Prosecutor Mies traces little Jan's last hours. The night before his death he had to sleep tied up in a sack sewn together from sheets. Annoyed that he pissed his pants, Claudia H. allowed the pastor to shower her soaked son with ice-cold water that morning on August 17, 1988. Jan had to stay in the bathroom until noon. "He screamed desperately, was beside himself," says Mies. The mother fetched it, "stuffed it with gruel," put it back in the sack that she tied over her head, laid it on the bathroom floor and left the house.

Mies raises his voice: "She left the boy in the care of Sylvia D., who was trying to kill him." Jan's mother had long been convinced by Sylvia D. that he was "the reincarnation of Hitler, a power sadist and by the dark." obsessed.

Claudia H. - prejudiced?

Sylvia D. announced to her mother weeks earlier that God would get the boy.

On that August day, when the outside temperature was 32 degrees Celsius, she closed the window and door of the bathroom and left Jan to his fate.

Mies is convinced that he couldn't breathe in the tied sack, couldn't move his arms or legs and died in it.

A four-year-old boy, four years old and completely malnourished, weighing 14 kilos.

Claudia H. shows no reaction.

She is desperate, says her lawyer Thomas Scherzberg.

It is "an absolutely spectacular jury case: a mother is accused of having killed her only child."

In an opening statement, his co-defense attorney Wiebke Otto-Hanschmann speaks of a woman who has long been prejudiced.

In these proceedings, however, it is only a question of whether H. is guilty or acquitted.

"Everything else and sect murmur has no relevance here!" Her client was asked in the trial against Sylvia D. without having been informed about her rights.

She was "completely defenseless".

"You should have been assigned a defense attorney," says the defense attorney.

On the next day of the trial, at the end of September, Claudia H. will comment personally on the allegations, her lawyers announce. And she has one more request: Can the husband from the auditorium come up to the front for a moment? He is allowed to. And then a couple who have lost their son hug each other. Claudia H. is crying.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-09-14

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