Church bombs mother `lonely and disturbed'
Friday 27 December 1996
A day after issuing a reconstructed picture of the attacker, police identified her as a 49-year old from Usingen, a village in the Taunus hills north of Frankfurt. Out of respect for the family, the police would not name her, and there were still no clues about her motives.
All that was known is that she separated from her husband a year ago, leaving her nine-year old daughter in the father's care. She lived alone in her flat, and is thought to have travelled to Frankfurt on Christmas Eve by public transport.
Police believe she hit upon the church in Sindlingen at random, though the family had lived in the same district in the 1980s. None of the people touched by the bombing remembered her.
There is speculation that she might have intended only to kill herself, not realising the effect the blast would have on those near her.
Seventy people were in the church when the grenades detonated. Two sisters seated next to her in the third pew from the back died instantly. A mother and her 12-year old daughter were seriously injured. While the girl's condition improved slightly yesterday, her mother remained on the critical list.
With no suicide note to explain her actions, the authorities can still only speculate about her motives. One theory is that her actions were prompted by a film which was shown on German television last week, in which a person committed suicide in a church during the Christmas service.
Mystery also surrounds the origins of the two grenades that were strapped to her body and detonated simultaneously as the congregation began to sing the first hymn. The grenades were made in Eastern Europe. Though such weapons can be obtained on the black market, particularly in eastern Germany, she would have had to have been quite resourceful to locate them. The police have ruled out a political or terrorist motive for the tragedy.
"Christmas has brought us more questions than answers this year," Bernd Wangerin, the tight-knit community's pastor, told worshippers at a memorial service yesterday. The congregation met at the Arche Community church half a mile away from the damaged church, which remained closed.
"We have injuries among us in spirit and in body," he said in his sermon. "But the injuries among us will bind us together."
- 1 Reader dilemma: 'My boyfriend jokes about putting photos of us having sex on Facebook'
- 3 Ralkina Jones: 37-year-old black woman found dead in police custody
- 4 Kanye West praises Caitlyn Jenner on I Am Cait: 'You couldn't have been up against more'
- 5 Five-year-old boy forced classmate to simulate oral sex at primary school, claims mother
Mystery over deaths of 3,000 Napoleonic soldiers in mass grave has been solved
Global Peace Index: Ukraine tops list of countries with the worst relations with neighbours
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, 71, still enjoys 'an early morning joint' for breakfast
Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
What the Labour party could look like under Jeremy Corbyn
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides actionabl...
Negotiable depending on experience, plus benefits: Guru Careers: We are seekin...