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Key found with body solved Tyrol murder mystery

Police have solved the mystery of a body found in Tyrol earlier this month - the victim was a Greek man who was murdered by a fellow Greek who was having an affair with his wife.

Key found with body solved Tyrol murder mystery
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

The 28-year-old suspect confessed to Austrian authorities that he killed Antonis Christofakis, 31, whose body was found in a ditch at a car park near Söll. It had 11 bullet wounds.

The lawyer of suspect Giorgos Vlachopoulos has said it was a crime of passion, as his client was having an affair with the victim’s wife, a German citizen. Both Vlachopoulos and his lover face charges of premeditated murder and are in police custody.

Police in Munich say the victim's told them that her husband was violent towards her, and that she and her lover plotted to kill him so that they could live together. Police think they had been planning the murder for months, and then drove to Austria where they planned to dump the body in a ravine.

Austrian police found the key to a rental car with Christofakis’s body. This led them to a car rental firm in Munich where they were given Vlachopoulos’s name and the address of an apartment which turned out to belong to him. When police searched the apartment, thinking it belonged to the victim, they found the murder weapon. Austrian detective Walter Pupp said that “in the true sense of the word, the key found with the victim was ultimately the key to our success.”

Christofakis had left his home in Siva, Crete, along with his wife and six-year-old daughter, to work in Munich. 

28-year-old Vlachopoulos was arrested in Munich, but will be extradited to Austria.

 

CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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