Couple on trial for murder of man who contacted daughter on Facebook

A couple have gone on trial in Germany for allegedly stabbing to death a man they believed to be a pedophile after he made contact with their 12-year-old daughter over the social network site Facebook.

The couple are accused of extortion and murdering the 29-year-old man, identified as Christian L, in August last year.

Prosecutors in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia believe the pair decided to kill the man after he wrote on their daughter's Facebook page that he wanted to meet her.

The defendants declined to make any comment to the court on the allegations.

Prosecutors believe that the couple had suspected that Christian L had wanted to sexually abuse their daughter, although prosecutors said there have been no evidence that this was the case.

With the help of a friend, the couple lured Christian L to a quiet back road where they ambushed him and then stabbed him, according to prosecutors.

Under Germany's strict privacy laws, the names of those involved in court cases are often not published in full.

The couple also believed that Christian L had wanted to make contact with a child and had photos of their daughter on his mobile phone. Prosecutors believe his contact with the 12-year-old was harmless.

The girl's age was not apparent from her Facebook page and she had pretended to be 10 years older, prosecutors said. This was also something that the parents were aware of, they said.

The pair had initially made a police complaint against Christian L, but investigators considered the charges against him to be unfounded and the case was dropped.

However, the couple continued to maintain that he was in fact a child molester.

Along with the couple's friend, another co-defendant in the case, who was looking after the couple's children at the time of the alleged murder, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

Both defendants had assumed that the victim would only be hurt during the confrontation, prosecutors said.

The trial is set to continue in May.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 12:55

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