The two children who stabbed a 12-year-old girl to death in Germany could be locked away in a psychiatric ward or sued for compensation by the victim’s family – but the killers aged 13 and 12 cannot be prosecuted.
Luise was stabbed more than 30 times with ‘a nail file’ in ‘revenge’ after she told an adult her attackers had been bullying her for months, according to German newspaper Bild.
Other theories include that she was killed after fighting about a boy.
Her body was found in a pool of blood a week ago, on March 12, in a wooded area near the town of Freudenberg on the same day one of her killers reportedly posted a dance video on TikTok.
Under German law, children under 14 are under the age of criminal responsibility and cannot be charged – but there are other means to punish Luise’s killers.
The two girls have now left Freudenberg and could be ‘in an institution with support for teenagers, possibly a psychiatric ward’, Judge Thorsten Schleif told Bild.
The victim, known only as Luise, was found in a pool of blood on Sunday in a wooded area near the town of Freudenberg, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, after she was stabbed more than 30 times
Luise, 12, was stabbed more than 30 times with ‘a nail file’ by two girls aged 13 and 12 ‘in revenge’ after she told an adult they had been bullying her for months, according to German newspaper Bild. Other theories include that she was killed after fighting about a boy
If they will be housed in a closed facility depends if they are considered a danger to themselves or others, he added, which will be determined by the child protective services responsible for the 13 and 12-year-old.
Mobile phones and leaving the premises of the closed facility would be forbidden, with fixed times for school and therapy.
The girls could also be ordered to pay compensation to Luise’s family as soon as they are earning money – an order that could be valid for 30 years.
Children aged seven upwards, under the condition that the child was aware they were doing something ‘harmful’, can be ordered to pay damages under German civil law.
Being given a new identity to start a new life in another town will also be unlikely for the young assailants. ‘It’s neither mandatory nor the rule,’ Judge Schleif explained.
The girls and their families will likely move away from Freudenberg permanently.
Child therapist Miriam Hoff doesn’t believe the girls can return to a ‘normal life’ any time soon: ‘It will take years of therapy to get over a crime like that.
‘Also crucial: Do the perpetrators have personality disorders that manifested early on? Or do they have a history of mental illnesses?’ she said.
Another psychologist, Dr Albert Wunsch, added: ‘If they both grew up within good social structures and if they acted in the heat of the moment, they will be confronted with feelings of guilt about their actions their whole lives.’
But, he also told Bild that the brutality and the lack of remorse point toward a conscious act: ‘Luise’s death wasn’t an accident. She wasn’t pushed in a fight and hit her head. Many things indicate it wasn’t an act in the heat of the moment.’
The future of the two teenage girls depends on the child protective services, who will decide how the girls responsible for Luise’s murder should be dealt with, according to Ms Hoff.
Flowers and candles were placed where Luise’s body was found in the woods near Freudenberg
Luise’s disappearance triggered a frantic search operation that featured a helicopter, sniffer dogs and drones
To decide the best course of action, one would have to involve the parents as well, Dr Wunsch explained.
They would be asked if they were any signs for growing conflict behaviour in the girls, how the girls accessed the murder weapon, as well as how the parents can live on after their children’s actions.
In light of growing demands to lower the age for criminal responsibility in Germany, Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann told Bild on Sunday: ‘Such serious crimes cannot go unnoticed.
‘Children under the age of 14 are not prosecuted. However, our legal system already has the means to react to serious acts of violence by children under the age of 14.’
Those means include referring assailants to closed institutions or homes in psychiatric wards.
Other means could include providing the parents with help in raising their children or housing the girls in foster homes – the latter only with the approval of a family court of the parents themselves.
According to media reports, the 13 and 12-year-old are living away from their families right now, likely in accommodation provided by the child protective services. They are reportedly still in contact with their families.
Luise went missing on the afternoon of Saturday, March 11, after a sleepover from Friday to Saturday with the 13-year-old friend at her house, in the town’s Hohenhain district, two miles from Luise’s own home.
Although they had known each other for years, took the school bus together and were even in the same class in school, it is not clear why Luise and her killer met up in light of the bullying accusations.
Later that day, the 12-year-old joined in and the trio walked to a nearby forest. There, they allegedly stabbed Luise more than 30 times in a case that has shocked Germany.
Luise’s body was found in the woods the following day, March 12, after her parents reported the girl missing on Saturday afternoon, sparking a massive police search of the area.
The two girls, who were spotted by a neighbour as they were walking into the woods with Luise, ‘made statements about the matter and in the end admitted the crime’, said Florian Locker, head of Koblenz police’s homicide department.
Luise went missing on Saturday, March 11, after a sleepover from Friday to Saturday with the 13-year-old friend at her house, in the town’s Hohenhain district, two miles from Luise’s home
A book of condolences for Luise and a card reading ‘We mourn Luise’ are on display in the Protestant church in Freudenberg
After the stabbing, the girls returned to the 13-year-old’s house, where the younger girl was later picked up by her father.
Afterwards, the older girl called Luise’s parents and told them a tale of lies, saying Luise started making her way back home at 5.30pm and wanted to let her know once she had arrived.
As Luise had failed to call, the 13-year-old allegedly phoned her several times as she was ‘worried’ about her, while she knew where Luise really was: stabbed and left to die in the woods.
Police said that during the search and later under questioning, the two girls made contradictory statements and both finally confessed on Monday, March 13.
The two girls attended the same school as Luise and they were said to be friends.
The parents of the suspects have moved away for the moment but are still in contact with their daughters.
Luise’s disappearance triggered a frantic search operation that featured a helicopter, sniffer dogs and drones. When she was found dead with multiple stab wounds, the community in the small town with just 18,000 residents was shocked.
Police said on Monday, March 20, that they gave up on trying to find the murder weapon – said to be a nail file – after not being able to locate it after a week-long search.
A book of condolences for Luise and a card reading ‘We mourn Luise’ are on display in the Protestant church in Freudenberg.
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