Dan N. (name changed) was considered a devoted father. But on April 13, 1977, the 41-year-old stabbed his three children to death, seriously injuring his wife and sister-in-law. When the car dealer stands trial in 1978, the verdict comes as a surprise.
The son of a respected chief from Ghana came to Hamburg in 1971 and met his wife here. Four years later they both married. At the time they were already parents, their son Oli had been born the year before. Twins followed in 1976. A harmonious family on the outside.
Father of a family was discriminated against because of the color of his skin
Dan N. tries not to offend here and still get recognition. His problem: The relatives of his wife, with whom the family of five lives under one roof in a single-family house on Fabriciusstraße in Bramfeld, reject Dan N. – for racist reasons. The man’s defense attorney, Dr. Ness later describes the family situation in the process as follows: “Dan N. was not the head of the family, but at most a tolerated coolie.”
Dan N. 1975 at the wedding with his wife and their son Private.
The strict rejection hits the Ghanaian hard, he becomes lonely and begins to drink. On April 13, 1977, disaster struck in the Bramfeld home. The trigger was his wife’s desire to separate. She even calls the police to have them throw her husband out of the house.
Dan N. grabs a butcher knife and cuts the throats of his three children, then stabs his wife (35) and sister-in-law (28), both seriously injuring them. The perpetrator then flees the house, walks for kilometers covered in blood to Barmbek and is apprehended by police officers on Wasmannstrasse. The 41-year-old attacks the police with a knife, they shoot the gun out of his hand and overpower the man.
Attorney Dr. Ness comforts the interpreter in the courtroom. She burst into tears as she read the autopsy results of the victims. Ingrid Schleede
On January 2, 1978, the trial against the perpetrator before the Hamburg jury began. It turns out that all of his wife’s relatives had completely ignored the Ghanaian because of the color of his skin. No one greeted him, he wasn’t allowed to take part in any family celebrations, you just looked right through him.
The crime happened in this detached house on Fabriciusstrasse. Lutz Jaffe
When a judge asked his wife why she married Dan N., she replies, “Because he bought me alcohol. I was addicted then. My relatives took all the bottles away from me. One of these relatives then said about Dan N.: “He wasn’t allowed to come to my apartment. I’ve always found it funny when white and black go together.” The witness’s wife, in turn, explained, “We were reluctant because he was black.”
Due to these bad conditions, a psychiatric expert is called in. dr Bernd W. explains: “The inner loneliness of this African who comes from another culture” has led to a “constantly increasing emotional state”.
The author today at the crime scene Florian Quandt
Thomas Hirschbiegel (here at the Fabriciusstraße crime scene) has been with MOPO since 1977. The 63-year-old was a police reporter for almost 40 years and now, as chief reporter, also writes about urban development, cars and “Lost Places”. Regarding the child murders 43 years ago, he says: “1977 was my first year working at MOPO. But I haven’t been allowed to get involved in big cases like this terrible triple murder. A year later things looked very different. Not a week passed without murder and manslaughter. Back then, most cases left me cold. But today, at the end of my long professional life, things are different.”
The accused has the last word in the trial. With tears he says: “I can never be happy again. I have to prepare for my children. Because I will see her again in heaven.”
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On January 10, 1978, the mild sentence was passed. Since Dan N. had a blood alcohol level of 2.6 at the time of the crime, he was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for three counts of manslaughter while in a state of negligent intoxication.
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