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CRIME

Hospital patient ‘attempts to murder’ snorer

An 84-year-old patient in Mödling Hospital, Lower Austria, found the loud snoring of a man in the next room so intolerable that she tried to smother him with a pillow. A night nurse found her just in time and was able to save the 81-year-old man.

Hospital patient 'attempts to murder' snorer
Hospital room. File photo: APA

Shortly after midnight the nurse heard a quiet whimpering sound from one of the rooms, and could hardly believe her eyes when she discovered the elderly woman bending over the other patient and holding a pillow over his face.

Only with some force was she able to pull the woman away and get her out of the room.

The woman has suspected dementia and told police that she “could not stand the man’s loud snoring”, according to a report in the Österreich newspaper.

The state prosecutor said she obviously did not know what she was doing, and has classed the incident as “coercion”, rather than attempted murder. There will be no police investigation into the incident. 

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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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