Marianne Bachmeier's deed of vengeance remains one of the most striking examples of vigilantism in postwar German history. Many individuals freely stated their acceptance of the murder at the time, seeing it largely as a desperate act by a grieving mother. Others believed that heavy punishment is required to protect the rule of law against vigilante justice.
Marianne Bachmeier was a struggling single mother who owned a tavern in Lübeck, West Germany, in the 1970s. Anna, her third child, resided with her. Her elder children had been placed for adoption. Anna has been described as a joyful and open-minded youngster.
After a disagreement with her mother, the seven-year-old skipped school on May 5, 1980, and fell into the clutches of Klaus Grabowski. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, the 35-year-old butcher already had a criminal history for child sexual assault, was in psychiatry, and had himself castrated willingly. With court approval, he later underwent hormone treatment that restored his sexual drive.
Grabowski confined Anna in his apartment for hours before strangling her with pantyhose. It was never revealed whether he previously abused the girl. He was detained the same night after his fiancée called the cops. He admitted to the murder but denied abusing the child. Instead, he told a bizarre and disturbing tale, which may have added insult to injury for Anna's mother, Marianne.
He told the cops that 7-year-old Anna tried to seduce and blackmail him, threatening to inform her mother that he had assaulted her if he did not pay her money. He strangled her because he was afraid of going back to prison.
Marianne was deeply offended by his remarks for her daughter in media and felt that she needed to prevent Grabowski from damaging her daughter's reputation. Later, in an interview, she stated,
[Translated] "I heard he wanted to make a statement, I thought, now comes the next lie about this victim, who was my child"
His defense attorneys also said that he acted because of a hormonal imbalance induced by hormone medication he had after being intentionally castrated years before.
On March 6, 1981, it is the third day of the trial in the death of Anna, a seven-year-old girl who was strangled on May 5, 1980.
Klaus Grabowski, the accused culprit, and a previously convicted sex offender has already confessed to the murder. Around 10:00 a.m., Marianne Bachmeier, Anna's mother, approached him from behind in Lübeck district court, chamber 157. She took a .22-gauge Beretta from her baggy coat pocket, pointed it towards Grabowski's back, and pulled the trigger eight times. Grabowski died on the spot.
"I wanted to shoot him in the face. Unfortunately, I hit him in the back. I hope he's dead,"
The 31-year-old was apprehended without any struggle. She was put on trial in Lübeck almost two years later. Marianne Bachmeier was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Many people condemned the judiciary for permitting a guy who has previously sexually abused two girls to use hormones to restore his sex drive. Others accused Marianne Bachmeier of neglecting Anna and question her grief's sincerity. Others openly expressed their sympathy for the vengeful act.
Source: Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Northern German Broadcasting)
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