Berlin attacker jailed for kicking woman down station stairs

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Media caption,

The woman is kicked down a flight of stairs in the CCTV footage

When CCTV video emerged of an unprovoked attack on a woman at a Berlin subway station last year, it shocked Germans and went viral.

The man who kicked her down the stairs at Hermannstrasse was arrested and has now been given two years and 11 months in jail for grievous bodily harm.

The woman suffered a broken arm and a head wound.

Her attacker, a 28-year-old Bulgarian, said he did not remember the incident but admitted it was him in the video.

During the trial, the woman testified that she had fallen head first and landed on her face. She said she had suffered for months after the attack and had initially avoided contact with the outside world, she said.

Named at the trial as Svetoslav S, the man is seen in the video with a group of three other men.

Holding a bottle and smoking a cigarette, he sneaks down four steps behind his victim before launching a big kick, sending the woman flying down to the bottom of the staircase. He moves off, taking a big drag on his cigarette.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Svetoslav S shielded his face from photographers during the trial

The incident took place in October but the video only emerged in December. Eleven days later, the attacker was arrested after being identified by the public as he arrived in Berlin on a bus from France.

Svetoslav S, whose surname has not been made public under German privacy laws, is described as a convicted criminal in Bulgaria who was suffering from brain damage caused by a car accident.

The sentence would have been longer, but a psychiatric expert argued that the attacker had diminished responsibility because of the brain injury as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

Days after his arrest, Germans were shocked by another unprovoked attack on the city's underground in the same south-eastern area of Neukölln.

A homeless Polish man sleeping on a bench at Schoenleinstrasse was set alight by a group of Libyan and Syrian migrants. He escaped unharmed when passers-by put out the flames.

One of the attackers was jailed for almost three years and three teenagers were given suspended sentences.