German regional public broadcaster Südwestrundfunk (SWR) published an article on 9 February on the case against a suspected serial rapist. The defendant stands accused of multiple cases of (attempted) rape between May 2015 and February 2017. He is said to have pulled two women into bushes, late at night, and to have raped them. He is also suspected of having tried twice more.

The first case dates from 1 May 2015. In the early hours of the day, the defendant is said to have approached a 33-year-old woman on her way home. The woman, who was under the influence of alcohol, allowed him to escort her home. After arriving there, the suspect insisted she have sex with him. According to the State Prosecutor, when she refused, a struggle ensued. The woman managed to beat him off, hitting him and strangling him, until he gave up and left the house.

Only a few weeks later, on 24 May, the suspect sought out another victim. He is charged with assaulting another 33-year-old woman in the Wilhelmstraße, Stuttgart, as:

‘He grabbed her, pulled her into the bushes and closed her mouth,’ according to the State Prosecutor. In her distress, the woman bit his hand. ‘He choked her until she almost lost conciousness,’ the Prosecutor continued. She was undressed and raped.

On 11 October 2015 the defendant is said to have pulled a 22-year-old into the bushes of the botanical garden, who escaped her fate by interference from passers-by.

During trial, the suspect, an asylum seeker from Gambia living in Germany since 2014, kept silent. During the second day of trial only two witnesses, a magistrate and a police commissioner gave evidence. The last two reported on the interrogation of the suspect on the day he was apprehended. At the time, he claimed he couldn’t remember having raped any women. This led to cynical comments by the witnesses of him having had to have been very drunk indeed.

In one case, he admitted to having had sex. The Gambian man claims, however, that the mentally handicapped woman from Rottenburg had no objection. The court heard the testimony of the woman’s mother, who said that her daughter sometimes makes up stories, but that she believes her daughter when she says she was raped. As reported, the suspect had invited the 34-year-old to his room in the asylum center. He said, he was going to cook her something, but in the event never did. According to the State Prosecutor:

‘He wanted oral sex, she declined,’ (…) after which he undressed and raped her.

SWR further reports of a complication with regard to the sentencing: the age of the defendant is unclear. He claims he was only 19 in 2015, which would mean he should be sentenced according to juvenile law. But the suspicion is, he was already 21 and should, therefore, be sentenced as an adult. For the time being, he’s in a juvenile court. As one article describes it:

Like it doesn’t concern him, the man from Gambia looks at the ceiling, inspecting the wood paneling of the Tübinger State Court. The 21-year-old, whose age is unclear, acts apathetic, chewing his lower lip, embarrassed.