Johann Eichhorn – the Beast of Bavaria

For eleven years, he was the terror of Munich. Nobody knows for sure how many victims Johann Eichhorn – who once said about himself “he was like a wild animal” – really claimed. He was convicted for five murders and 90 cases of rape, but he probably committed several hundred more sexual delicts.

It all began in 1928. In West Munich, several young women were brutally attacked, threatened with a gun or knife, raped and sometimes also robbed. 

In five cases, the victims were murdered and their bodies savagely mutilated. Until on January 29, 1939, a man was seen attacking a 12-year-old girl and subsequently arrested: a locksmith and former railway worker named Johann (Hans) Eichhorn, then aged 32, married, two children, known as a regular guy and good father.

In the following weeks,  some of the incidents could be traced to him. After a mole in prison passed some more information to the police, he finally broke down and confessed.

He had met his first murder victim, a 16-year old maidservant named Katharina Schaetzl, on October 11, 1931, on Wiesn (during the Oktoberfest). They agreed to go on a bicycle tour to Ebenhausen, but during that trip, all of a sudden, Eichhorn attacked Katharina, raped and strangled her, weighed down her body with stones and threw it into the Isar. She was found some time later, and a replica of her head was made for a public attempt to identify her.

This sculpture of Katharina´s head was used for a public attempt to identify her.

Three years later, in 1934, Eichhorn attacked Anna Geltl. The 26 year old wife of a hairdresser was crossing Forstenrieder Park on her bicycle when she was dragged into the bushes. Eichhorn shoot her into the head and cut her genitalia out with a knife.

Only a few weeks later, he attacked Berta Sauerbeck, a 25-year-old office worker. She, too, was dragged off her bike. As she desperately fought her attacker, he shot her in the head and raped her. Then he threw her into a dump – severely wounded but still alive – and buried her underneath some waste.  During his trial, Eichhorn later explained that he needed violence to achieve sexual arousal.

For years, the man was leading a perfect double life, in a long-time relationship with his later wife who was into rough sex. But for him, that was not enough. Three months before their marriage, he murdered his fourth victim.

 Rosa Eigelein, a 25-year old seamstress. She, too, was dragged off her bike, shot in the head, raped and her genitalia mutilated with a knife. Her body was just left by the roadside. Eichhorn didn´t even try to hide it.

Rosa Eigelein, her skull with the bullet hole

Maria Joerg was his fifth victim, a 23-year-old maidservant. She, too, is dragged off her bike, shot and mutilated and then buried in Forstenrieder Park – close to where Eichhorn had killed his first victim Maria.

After his arrest, Eichhorn was seen by doctors and psychologists. He was 1,73m tall, slim and muscular, with large hands and a large mouth with miserable teeth in spite of his young age. The psychologists assess him as “intellectually not below average… but ethically and morally low, unstable, unrestrained, with an unusually strong sexual drive, a psychopath.”

In November 1939, he was convicted to death by beheading. The execution was on December 1st. His wife and sons changed their names and left the area.

To this day, Eichhorn is one of the most savage and cruel murderers in German criminal history. Nevertheless, his case is little known, probably due to the fact that he was a member of NSDAP and the case was pretty much hushed up in its time.   

Based on an article by Sven Rieber in: http://www.merkur-online.de/lokales/muenchen-west/johann-eichhorn-bestie-aubing-751796.html, all images taken from there.

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Jack the Ripper – some news

TheDaily Telegraph ran an interesting article on the Ripper yesterday.

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8514000/Scotland-Yard-fights-to-keep-Jack-the-Ripper-files-secret.html

Scotland Yard is battling to keep 123-year-old files on Jack the Ripper secret.

Four thick ledgers compiled by Special Branch officers have been kept under lock and key since the Whitechapel murders in 1888.

Jack the Ripper murders reported by the Police News

Trevor Marriott, a Ripper investigator and former murder squad detective, has spent three years attempting to obtain uncensored versions of the documents.

But he has been repeatedly refused because the ledgers contain the identities of police informants – and the Metropolitan Police insist that revealing the information could compromise their attempts to gather information from “supergrasses” and other modern-day informants.

Last week, Mr Marriott took Scotland Yard to a tribunal in a last-ditch attempt to see the journals – containing 36,000 entries – which he believes contain evidence which could finally unmask the world’s most famous serial killer. ….

The ledgers provide details of the police’s dealings with thousands of informants from 1888 to 1912, including some who provided information during the original Ripper investigation. … According to Mr Marriott, the files contain the names of at least four new suspects, as well as other pieces of evidence.

… On uncovering references to the ledgers in 2008, Mr Marriott applied to see the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The Met refused and he appealed to the Information Commissioner who also decided the books should not be revealed. Now Mr Marriott has undergone the final appeal stage to the Information Tribunal, in which the case is heard by a panel of three judges.

The three-day hearing involved a detective inspector, identified only as ‘D’, speaking to the court from behind a screen because of his sensitive role running the force’s intelligence-gathering operation from informants. Detective Inspector ‘D’ told the tribunal that unveiling the files could deter informants from coming forward in future, and could even put off members of the public from phoning Crimestoppers or the antiterrorist hotline. Det Insp ‘D’ said the passage of time did not make publication of informants’ identities less sensitive because their descendants could be targeted by criminals with a grudge.

Another senior officer, Detective Superintendent Julian McKinney, told the tribunal that releasing names would make police officers less capable of preventing terrorist attacks and organised crime, and make informants vulnerable to attack.Det Supt McKinney said: “Regardless of the time, regardless of whether they are dead, they should never be disclosed. “They come to us only when they have the confidence in our system that their identity will not be disclosed.”

But Mr Marriott said a number of historical files have previously been released which contained details of informants. He argued there was no evidence to show descendants of informants who have been named had come to harm.

This is an interesting development. Looking back at my previous JtR post, I have tried to make clear under what enormous pressure the police were at the time to catch the killer and stop the murders. It would have been in their own best interest to let the public know as soon as they could that a) the danger posed by the Ripper was no more and that b) the credit for this belonged to them, that they had done a good job in protecting the public.  

And yet, no such announcement was ever made. The case was allowed to gradually fade from attention. There was no large-scale announcement that the Ripper was gone, people were safe now, police was not as goofy as they had been thought to be. They took the risk that panic would break out anew in the East End, caused by any murder similar enough to give the public the impression that the Ripper was back. And when  there were indeed a number of similar murders over the next two years, none were conclusively linked to the Ripper, and none were treated the same way by the police.

Perhaps the police really had no idea who the Ripper was and were simply trying to soft-pedal. On the other hand, we do have statements of several members of the police force that the police did indeed know who the Ripper was, giving different reasons just why there had not been an arrest and the killings had stopped.

The ledgers and the secrecy that still surrounds them support the theory that at least some of the police exactly knew who was behind the Ripper killings – and that there is a reason why this has to be kept quiet until today. In fact, the varying statements of police officials as to the identity of the Ripper could have been purposeful desinformation.

As one user on Casebook states: “As the article explains, the Special Branch Registers and Ledgers contain suspect names that pertain to these events. 4 more suspects. Special Branch themselves therefore were involved in this investigation. That means there was involvement on a political or national security level of some sort. That is what Special Branch, deal with. … Now that tells me that if the Whitechapel murders were subject to Special Branch involvement, there are things that we know nothing about. If Special Branch have listed suspects under THEIR watch, then political invovement exists. That is the nature of Special Branch activity.” http://forum.casebook.org/showpost.php?p=174744&postcount=164

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

Four years ago, in May 2007, a little girl vanished from her family´s holiday apartment at the Algarve, Portugal. The case has been much publicized, so most people will be familiar with the basics.

Madeleine, almost four, had been left in the apartment sleeping, along with her two younger siblings, while the parents had dinner with their friends at the holiday complex´ restaurant a stone´s throw away. Occasional checks on the children showed everything was alright. Then, suddenly, Kate McCann came back from the apartment screaming that Maddie was gone – “they´ve taken her”.

While the parents insist to this day that their daughter has been abducted by a stranger, there is a lot about this theory and the case itself that doesn´t add up.

After the Portuguese police closed the case in 2008, their files have been made public and can be seen, along with many other documents about the case, at: http://www.mccannfiles.com/

As the case has recently announced to be up for a review by Scotland Yard, I would like to point everyone interested to this bilingual blog:  http://unterdenteppichgekehrt.blogspot.com/  which points out a lot of what doesn´t add up about this case and puts together a convincing theory of what might really have happened and why the McCanns do not want the world to know.

Until Maddie is found, alive or dead, we will probably never know which theory is right.

Personally, I tend to consider Johanna´s theory rather likely, because the more I read about this case the more I notice parallels between the McCann´s actions and those of the Ramseys. 

The unsolved death of little JonBenet Ramsey actually warrants a post of its own, but to give you a short rundown:  John and Patsy Ramsey got up on Christmas morning, 1996, to find a very peculiar ransom note claiming their 6-year-old daughter had been taken.  They alarmed the police and soon after, the little girl was found dead in the basement of the house. The autopsy revealed previous sexual abuse of JonBenet, who had frequently participated at beauty pageants.  In most true crime forums I´ve looked at, the two main theories about her death are shortened to “IDI” (intruder did it) or “RDI” (Ramseys did it). My personal impression is that the latter is the case: JonBenet died in a domestic accident, which was subsequently covered up.

Some notable parallels between both cases:

– The parents insist that a stranger caused the death/disappearance of their child.

– The parents lawyer up quickly and refuse to answer questions by the police.

– The parents change their story about what happened before the disappearance was noticed.

– The parents make extensive use of the media to spread their theory of what happened.

– The parents take legal action against some of those that propagate other theories.

– The parents initiate a foundation to fund the search for the missing child/the killer and protect children from predators. Said foundation is not very active.

– The parents write a book in which they present their version of what happened.

– The parents are wealthy and well-connected; when they are suspected by the police of having been involved in what happened, protection seems to come into play.

– In both cases, the theory has been brought up that a pedophile network might have been behind it. Whether  a pedophile network was active in Boulder, Colorado and/or Praia de Luz at the time or not, it seems the police decidedly not wanted to go in that direction with their inquiries, not because it is actually unlikely in either case but rather because “someone” did not want them to; possibly because they might have dug up things unrelated with the case in question but still very nasty.

– In both cases, there is plenty of evidence that supports the theory that the little girl died in an accident with her parents being involved and then covering up what happened for fear of losing custody of their other children as well as social status.  In both cases there is plenty of evidence that supports the theory that there was no  “intruder” and the abduction scenario was merely set up. The parents actively try to write off/discredit  this evidence.

– In interviews, the parents/family displays some “understanding”, even “forgiveness” for the person responsible for what happened to their child.