According to a psychiatric report, the alleged amok driver from Trier has reduced criminal responsibility. His ability to control was severely impaired due to a delusional disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, said an expert on Wednesday in the trial before the Trier district court. If left untreated, the disorder remains dangerous to those around him and has a tendency to spread.
Expert Wolfgang Retz recommended that placement in a psychiatric hospital be given priority over placement in preventive detention. Treating the disease makes more sense than securing it alone.
The accused Bernd W. talked to him on two occasions, Retz said. He said little about the allegation itself. Instead, he talked about his childhood. Retz described his theses as “abnormal” and “bizarre”.
W. told him that in 1973 – at the age of about three to four years – he had been a “guinea pig” in a government experiment. At that time he was injected with a “radioactive substance”. To this day, money is withheld from him for this. The 52-year-old qualified or ignored the question of whether this could really be the case, said Retz.
Personal acquaintances are also involved in a “plot” against him. This conviction is unshakeable for him and has consolidated over the years, said Retz. The disease could spread further. So after a few days in prison, W. incorporated judicial officers into his delusions.
The disease had developed from the 1990s at the latest. At this point there were several upheavals in his life. Social contacts have also decreased. “The certainty of the atrocities that he saw as happening to him matured over a long period of time,” said Retz. W. described an inconspicuous childhood to him in the conversations.
The 52-year-old has no impairments in his cognitive abilities. In principle, he is also able to control his actions and implement plans. However, his ability to control is severely impaired by the delusion. “The fact that he has the full breadth of planning ability is something that makes the dangerousness of the delusional in a special way,” said Retz. In the case of W., there is a lack of insight into the illness and a willingness to treat it.
There is no evidence that the act arose directly from a pathological disturbance of contact with reality. It was not directed against a single person, but against society as a whole, which he saw as hostile to him.
He thinks it is unlikely that W. is faking his mental illness, said Retz. According to witnesses, there have been abnormalities for a long time. “It would be surprising if W. had already started simulating a disruption in anticipation of the crime in 2020.”
According to the indictment, W. is said to have raced his car through the pedestrian zone of the Rhineland-Palatinate city on December 1, 2020. Five people were killed and many others injured. Eleven months after the crime, another victim succumbed to his serious injuries. On his way through several streets, W. apparently caught passers-by indiscriminately, but deliberately at high speed.