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German 'doppelganger' fake death murder trial moves ahead

January 22, 2024

A court in Bavaria has dismissed a plea to delay the trial of a beautician accused of killing a woman who looked like her. The defendant had allegedly hunted for her victim online as part of an elaborate deception plot.

The 24-year-old accused woman appearing in court in Ingolstadt, accompanied by custody staff
The 24-year-old accused woman's legal team had wanted more time to consider new evidenceImage: Cornelia Hammer/dpa/picture alliance

The Ingolstadt Regional Court on Monday ruled that a trial of a suspect accused of killing her lookalike should proceed as planned despite an objection from the defense.

The 24-year-old German-Iraqi suspect allegedly trawled social media to find someone who looked like her as part of a plot to kill them and stage her own death.

What more do we know?

The accused woman, a beautician living in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, allegedly contacted women who resembled her on Instagram.

According to the prosecution, a 23-year-old from Baden-Württemberg eventually responded.

The defendant told the woman she would receive a free beauty treatment in Ingolstadt and arranged to pick her up from Eppingen, a town some 230 kilometers west (about 140 miles), toward the French border.

Instead, the prosecutors say, the victim was taken to a wooded area where she was killed with more than 50 stab wounds.

Relatives of the accused killer were said to have found the victim's body in her defendant's car in Ingolstadt. Given the resemblance, they believed the defendant had been killed.

Instead, she was arrested the next day as a suspect in the killing along with a 25-year-old Kosovan man also on trial accused of being an accomplice.

The 25 year-old alleged accomplice appears in court in Ingolstadt, surrounded by custody staff
A 25 year-old man is also on trial in connection with the killingImage: Cornelia Hammer/dpa/picture alliance

The accused woman allegedly wanted to fake her death because of disagreements involving her family and that of a former partner.

Prosecutors said that both suspects initially denied the crime and remained silent during further investigation.

Court decides the defense has time 

Defense lawyers had asked for the trial to be put on hold after new investigation files were submitted to the court.

They complained that prosecutors had waited until shortly before proceedings began earlier this month to put forward the new documents.

However, presiding judge Konrad Kliegl ruled that the defense team still had time to consider and contest any new evidence during proceedings, which are due to continue until May.

This article was written with material from news agency dpa.

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Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.