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CRIME

Nazi ritual murder now ‘cannibalistic’

Fresh details have emerged in the case of a grisly murder, which suggest the alleged killer may have engaged in cannibalism after killing his 20-year-old victim.

Nazi ritual murder now 'cannibalistic'
The murder happened in one of these apartments. Photo: APA/NEUMAYR

On October 9th, a 21-year-old man was arrested for the suspected murder of Mirela B., a 20-year-old woman in the town of Saalfelden, in the Austrian province of Salzburg.

At the time of the incident, information about the murder was sketchy, but now new details have emerged, although they have not been confirmed by police.

According to a report from Austrian national broadcaster ORF, the young woman had Nazi symbols carved into her skin, as part of a ritual murder.  

Multiple knives had been used, and the young woman had also been raped. She was found stabbed to death in the bathroom of the suspect's mother's house, lying in a pool of blood.

The young man was an acquaintance of the woman, but was not her boyfriend, according to one report.  

The man was 20 years old at the time of the murder, but has since had a birthday.

On Friday morning, fresh leaks from reliable sources suggest that there were "elements of cannibalism" in the ritual murder, where the young man is thought to have eaten part of the young woman's body.

The Salzburg prosecutor refused to confirm any additional details of the case, saying that they are waiting for a psychological assessment of the suspect, as well as a final autopsy report.

The young man is being held in custody, and will appear before a judge on Monday, but a formal indictment is not expected for another three months.

The man is said to have been obsessed with “deviant thoughts” and spent a lot of time on Internet chat forums.

The accused is reported to have said that he was not in a relationship with the murdered woman and that there had been no argument before he attacked her. Some of his neighbours reported hearing screaming from his apartment.

Police received an emergency call around 1am on October 9th after the woman’s neighbours reported hearing a loud argument.  

When police and paramedics arrived they found the woman lying on the floor with stab wounds. The suspect remained in the apartment and did not resist arrest.

It is believed the woman was murdered with a kitchen knife. 

Police spokeswoman Irene Stauffer said it is unclear what the motive for the attack was. 

Saalfelden's mayor Erich Rohrmoser said that everybody in the community was "asking how such a thing could happen", and promised to help the victim's family. 

Around 16,000 people live in Saalfelden, nestled in a picturesque valley near Salzburg.


Saalfelden valley.  Photo: Vearthy/Wikimedia

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CRIME

Does Austria have a street car racing problem?

A fatal accident involving a speeding driver in the streets of Austria's capital Vienna has once again sparked the debate about illegal car racing in the country.

Does Austria have a street car racing problem?

A 26-year-old man sped through the streets of central Vienna in his Mercedes on a Sunday evening.

After he failed to stop at a red light he mowed into a car being driven by a 48-year-old woman. She later died in hospital.

The police had said a video recorder at the time of the accident showed evidence the driver was taking part in some kind of illegal race. Even though a Vienna court later said it saw “no evidence at all” that indicates street racing, the debate was already ignited.

Does Austria, and especially Vienna, have an illegal car racing problem?

According to the Viennese police, there are no statistics specifically for street racing. However, “there is an active racing scene in Vienna”, spokesperson Markus Dittrich told The Local.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Estimates put the number of “members of the illegal scene” in Vienna between 800 to 1,000 people. Current hotspots are still the area around Kahlenberg, Triester Straße, the Oberlaa area and the Kagran business park.

The police measured instances of speeding and from April to August 2022, around 6,500 reports were placed in the capital and 30 driving licenses were confiscated on site.

What are the police currently doing?

“In order to take decisive action against the active racing scene, checks have been significantly increased.”

“Furthermore, coordinated traffic planning checks are being carried out by the Vienna police department and various city police commands, and the relevant municipal departments are also involved”, Dittrich said.

In August, the City of Vienna took action in one of the “hotspots” for racing, adding 65 concrete barriers to prevent races in the car park in Kahlenberg, as The Local reported.

As racers move to different areas once blocks are put in place, the police also resort heavily on the two consequences it can impose: high fines and the revocation of driving licenses.”.

READ ALSO: Vienna wants to take action against speeding drivers

Fines can reach up to €5,000 on higher offences, such as driving 40 km/h or more over the speeding limit in a city (or 50 km/h above limits on a road). In addition, driving licences can be withheld for one month or three months in the case of repeated offences.

From an excess of 80 km/h, the license is taken away for half a year.

Calls for changes in the law

The recent debate in Austria has also now brought the issue of possible changes in the law, with experts claiming that the current legislation might not be sufficient.

Illegal racing is not a crime per se, but offences such as “endangering physical safety” or “deliberate endangerment of the public” are applied. If people are killed or injured, the crime is negligence – with up to three years in prison possible for those convicted of grossly negligent homicide.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about driving on the autobahn in Austria

Some are asking for “zero tolerance“, saying that the crimes should not be seen as negligence but as murder – those who drive too fast or under the influence of alcohol take a risk knowing they might kill someone.

Others, however, say that turning negligence into murder holds a trap. “Attempted murder is also punishable. So the penalty for just participating in an illegal auto race where nothing happened? In practice, for example, 12 years in prison for 350 meters of a car race on Triester Straße?” wrote Constitutional Court member Dr Michael Rami on Twitter.

Still, the head of the legal services at Austria’s traffic authority ÖAMTC, Martin Hoffer, told public broadcaster ORF: “To prove murder against someone, you, of course, have to prove the corresponding intentionality”.

“That doesn’t mean a specific intention to kill a certain person, but to seriously consider it possible (and to accept) that someone may die in that situation.” So, a racing driver may not set out to kill someone, but they acknowledge that their actions could result in somebody’s death.

That could be a realistic scenario in an illegal race – and the debate in Austria continues.

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