Man goes on rampage at German tourist hotspot leaving one woman dead

Neuschwanstein Castle: Arrest made as air ambulance called

An American man has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman before throwing her and her friend down a 165 feet ravine near a tourist hotspot in southern Germany, causing the death of at least one of them.

The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon at Neuschwanstein castle, said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s “Cinderella” castle. 

Footage later appeared of the 30-year-old suspect in handcuffs being escorted away by police, having initially fled the scene of the crime. 

The attack happened near the Marienbruecke, a bridge over a gorge close to the castle that offers a famous view of Neuschwanstein.

The 30-year-old man met the two women, ages 21 and 22, on a hiking path and lured them onto a trail that leads to a viewpoint, police said in a statement.

The man, himself described as a tourist, then “physically attacked” the younger woman, they said. When her companion tried to intervene, he choked her and pushed her down a steep slope.

The assailant then appears to have attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old before pushing her down the slope as well. She fell nearly 50 metres (165 feet), ending up close to her friend.

The mountain rescue service rescued both women but the 21-year-old, who was also sexually assaulted, died in hospital overnight from serious injuries. 

The 22-year-old was “responsive” and taken to a hospital via helicopter. 

Footage online appeared to show the moment one of the rescue teams airlifted one of the women from the bottom of the ravine. 

The suspect left the scene but was arrested nearby shortly afterward. German authorities did not identify him or the women, or say where the women were from.

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Police said they and prosecutors were focusing on trying to reconstruct exactly what happened and called for any witnesses to come forward.

Under German law, suspects must be brought before a judge at a closed-doors hearing by the end of the calendar day after their arrest if investigators intend to keep them in custody.

Police said a judge in nearby Kempten on Thursday ordered him held pending a potential indictment and he was taken to jail.  He is under investigation on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and a sexual offence.

Neuschwanstein, in southern Bavaria and close to the Austrian border, is one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions.

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