Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – In a soft voice and “insistent” Irmgard Braun-Lübcke asked her husband’s alleged murderer for the “full truth”. Stefan Ernst was also emotionally tense in the Higher Regional Court of Justice (OLG) Frankfurt on Thursday.
“I would like to start by saying that this terrible act and this human suffering cannot be made good,” he began his written statement, which was repeatedly interrupted by sniffing or sobbing.
In it, he answered questions that Lübcke’s widow had asked in her testimony a few weeks ago. The family, she pointed out at the time, needed the ultimate truths about the death of the husband and father in order perhaps one day to return to normal.
Ernst also received a lot of attention with his words from Markus H., who sat before him and was accused of complicity, who was busy taking notes and once turned to Ernst. There had been no direct eye contact between the former colleagues and friends during the previous days of the negotiation. H. himself did not comment on the proceedings, Ernst repeated on Thursday that H. was also at the crime scene. “H. was on the terrace a little earlier than I was, and when I approached Mr. Lübcke, he looked at H.”, said Ernst.
In the last moments before the murder, Lübcke had no chance to flee or defend himself. “He was seated all the time, from this position he could not physically defend himself,” said Ernst, who also answered hands-free questions after a short pause – for example about the shooting practice he had with H., the multiple visits to the place of residence. van de Lübcke since 2016. The lawyer of the Lübcke family, who appeared as co-plaintiff, wanted to know if he had considered committing the act alone. “No,” said Ernst then. He would not have had the tendency of his own accord to do “such a thing alone”.
Braun-Lübcke was also concerned about the presence of H. in a question: “Is it really true that my husband was looking at H. at the last moment of his life?” Ernst replied with a short but clear yes.
In the previous taking of evidence, investigators had been unable to provide clear evidence of the presence of H., while a DNA trace from Ernst on Lübcke’s shirt had led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator, who had since provided other information about the crime.
In any case, Ernst’s statements on Thursday raised many new questions for the court. “This trial will not end in December,” said Chairman Thomas Sagebiel. The State Security Senate wanted to confront Ernst with inconsistencies in his earlier statements, the judge said. He accused Ernst of repeatedly making “situationally adjusted” statements and describing events with “confessions” accordingly. The court now wants to develop a catalog of questions to get further answers before the evidence is finalized.
At the end of the day of the trial, an investigating judge from the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) stated that he had issued the arrest warrant against H. – an arrest warrant that the OLG Senate overturned in October. The decision was also difficult for the BGH judge at the time given the “difficult evidence”. “It was a borderline case,” said the witness. H. had exercised his right to remain silent, behaved too correctly and rather “clarified and cool”. After the official part of the interrogation, he was surprised by H.’s question about the allegations: “Only because of complicity in murder? And what about membership in a terrorist organization? “
The 47-year-old German Stephan Ernst is charged with murder. He is said to have shot Lübcke on the terrace of his house in June 2019. In addition, Ernst’s former colleague Markus H. is charged with complicity. He is said to have influenced Ernst politically. The federal prosecutor’s office is based on a right-wing extremist motive.