Germany Tugce death: Teenager given youth custody

Friends and relatives held up placards highlighting Tugce Albayrak's "civil courage" Image copyright AP
Image caption Friends and relatives held up placards highlighting Tugce Albayrak's "civil courage"

An eighteen year-old man has been given three years in youth custody for causing the death of German student Tugce Albayrak.

The teenager, named as Sanel M, hit Ms Albayrak outside a fast food restaurant last year and she suffered fatal injuries as she hit the ground.

She was attacked after trying to protect two girls from harassment.

Large crowds turned out for her funeral and she was widely hailed as a national heroine for her actions.

Darmstadt regional court sentenced Sanel M under juvenile legislation as he had only recently turned 18, German media reported.

In his summing up, the chief state prosecutor said that the case was not as straightforward as had been reported because both sides had insulted each other beforehand.

Neither Tugce Albayrak was the national hero she had been described as nor was her attacker the type of person to knock people into a coma, Alexander Homm told the court.

The student teacher's death in Offenbach last November stunned Germany. She was of Turkish descent and her funeral was attended by the Hesse state prime minister and the Turkish ambassador.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sanel M covered his face before the verdict was read out
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tugce Albayrak was left brain dead by the attack. Her life support was switched off on her 23rd birthday

Reports at the time described how she had intervened when she heard cries for help from the toilet of McDonald's.

Footage from the restaurant car park later showed her lying motionless after being knocked to the ground.

Image copyright Bild Zeitung
Image caption Ms Albayrak falls to the ground after the blow, which was tweeted by German newspaper Bild

She was in a coma for two weeks before doctors declared her brain dead. Her parents switched off her life support on her 23rd birthday.

Her actions drew praise from Germany's President Joachim Gauck who called her a role model and said that she had shown "exemplary courage and moral fortitude".

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