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CRIME

Larissa Bieber murderer gets 20 years

The trial for the murder last September of 21-year-old Larissa Bieber from Tirol began and ended on Friday at the Innsbruck Regional Court. The defendant pled guilty, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Larissa Bieber murderer gets 20 years
The man accused of murdering Larissa. Photo: APA/ROLAND MÜHLANGER
Bieber's 24-year-old boyfriend is accused of murdering her in his apartment out of anger because of her alleged infidelity.  A speedy verdict was delivered in the afternoon, when the defendant pled guilty to the charges, and made a full confession.
 
Neither prosecutor nor defender made a statement. The verdict of the eight person jury was unanimous.
 
The comprehensive confession of the accused had worked in mitigation, explained Judge Norbert Hofer in the court's opinion. In addition, the personality disorder of the defendant was also influential in sentencing.
 
The prosecution has requested the admission of the defendant to an institution for abnormal offenders. A psychiatric expert has testified that the accused at the time of the murder was completely sane.
 
The accused has been diagnosed with a strong personality disorder with neurotic narcissistic features, which is why there is a high likelihood of further aggressive actions.
 
The 24-year-old is believed to have strangled the young woman during the night of September 14th, 2013.  He then threw the corpse into the Inn river.
 
Larissa was initially thought to have disappeared. Her body was recovered after a large-scale search operation on October 6th.
 
Her boyfriend was arrested on October 26th on suspicion of murder.
 

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CRIME

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a people smuggler to seven years in prison over the deaths of two Syrians who suffocated in the crammed minivan he was driving, Austria's news agency reported.

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

The bodies of the two men were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Thirty people in total were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene but was later arrested in Latvia and extradited.

The 19-year-old Latvian was found guilty of people smuggling and causing fatal injuries, but was not found guilty of murder, APA reported.

READ MORE: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

He said he would accept the verdict, but the prosecution can still appeal it, APA said.

A court spokeswoman could not immediately be reached by AFP. 

Austria’s interior ministry announced in May that police had smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of mostly Syrians, including the two found suffocated, from Hungary to Austria.

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, the ministry said.

Those smuggled, including children, were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

The October discovery of the dead men recalled a dire event in August 2015 when 71 people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they had died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe.

But Austria and other European countries have since fortified borders to stop people smuggling.

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