Status: 29.11.2023, 14:34 PM
The defendant sits in the dock in the courtroom in Düsseldorf. © Oliver Berg/dpa Pool/dpa
In the trial of the murderous explosion in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, an expert described what he found at the scene of the crime shortly after the fire had been extinguished.
Düsseldorf - In the trial of the alleged assassination attempt on emergency services in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, an expert has reconstructed the inferno and revealed new details. He was still in the apartment on the tenth floor of the high-rise building on the day of the crime, shortly after the fire had been extinguished, the 55-year-old fire expert Christoph Winter reported on Wednesday to the Düsseldorf district court.
The smell of fuel hit him everywhere. In the hallway of the apartment, everything was burned from a height of 90 centimeters and even the plaster had flaked off. According to the tracks, the temperatures were above 150 degrees Celsius and reached 1000 degrees Celsius for a short time.
In the hallway, he discovered a deposit on the floor, which turned out to be a melted red ten-liter plastic bucket when he turned it over. This was probably filled with four to six liters of gasoline. The gasoline was poured from a distance of about one and a half meters on the most seriously injured police officer and the emergency services standing behind her.
In court, a 57-year-old from Ratingen has to answer for nine attempted murders. He remains silent on the allegations. Police bodycams had recorded the event.
The fumes had formed an explosive atmosphere, and the ignition had caused a fireball, according to the expert. The defendant is likely to have ignited the gasoline with a textile, which he had probably previously soaked with barbecue lighter. The cap of a liquid barbecue lighter had been lying on the living room table.
He may have held the textile by a coat hanger or something similar. In this way, he managed to remain uninjured himself. Due to the uniforms wet with fuel, the victims would have burned like a wick - "from bottom to top". "As a result, the head and face were exposed to particular stress from flames and heat."
The tunnel-like pergola in front of the apartment also had a disadvantageous effect on the emergency services. "The flame had only one exit: the first four meters were shared between the flames and the emergency services." He had found no evidence of a technical defect as the cause of the fire. Because there was a smell of accelerant everywhere, the incendiary detection dog used was useless because it was totally overwhelmed: "Like at the gas station."
The mirrors in the bathroom and a window were covered with black plastic sheeting. "My impression is that the apartment should not be visible from the outside." He only knows something like this from Messi's apartments.
In a garbage-strewn room, according to the site plan a children's room, the wheelchair with the skeleton of the defendant's dead mother had stood. In addition, five petrol canisters with remnants of fuel were stowed in a cupboard.
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Garbage had also been stored on the balcony. In the kitchen, he came across larger supplies of noodles, for example. The defendant had presumably slept on the couch in the living room, where there had been a place to sleep.
The court showed footage of the event, taken from a neighboring house. They show the defendant standing calmly on the balcony, his elbows resting on the railing, while behind him his apartment burns and smoke rises. He gives the middle finger to the special police forces stationed on a neighboring balcony.
Two police officers, four firefighters, two paramedics and an emergency doctor were injured on 11 May, some of them life-threatening. Eight of the nine victims would retain foreseeable permanent damage, the public prosecutor's office had announced. The court has scheduled nine days of hearings for the criminal trial until January 11 next year. Dpa