Trial of the Frankfurt “Ikea corpse”: For the joy of tormenting

Dhe psychiatrist has a clear idea of ​​the accused and of what she is capable of. Manuela U. has sadistic traits, she enjoys torturing other people mentally or physically, says Henning Saß as an appraiser at the Darmstadt Regional Court. Its second large criminal chamber has to solve the murder of a woman whose body was found in 2016 in a ditch near the Ikea furniture store in the north of Frankfurt. The case remained unsolved for a long time until a DNA trace led the investigators to 50-year-old Manuela U., who is responsible for the killing.

She is accused together with her 26-year-old son Patrick U. and the 24-year-old Dennis L., who was living with the U. family at the time of the crime. According to the indictment, the two young men committed the act together with Manuela U. Their apartment on Ben-Gurion-Ring is not far from where the body was found. The victim, 55-year-old Gabriele L., previously lived with the accused in their apartment for a few years. The youth chamber of the Darmstadt Regional Court is responsible for the offense because Dennis L. was an adolescent at the time of the offense and comes from southern Hesse.

A talent for manipulation

Again and again, Manuela U. had shown a tendency to violence and the desire to control other people – this is the conclusion of the psychiatric expert on Friday. This is evident from many testimonies, for example from the reports of the former partners of the defendant, who has five failed marriages and several other relationships behind her. Time and again, as Saß summarizes the process, people from their environment have reported that they have been beaten and harassed with “mind games”. This was reported by one of her former husbands on Friday. Karsten U. says that he first let himself be captured by her charisma, after contracting she used him as a “lightning rod” when in a bad mood, punching him with her fist and kicking him, which is why he moved out.

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The reviewer is also of the opinion that Manuela U. has a talent for manipulation and, if she wants, is able to respond to others and appear as a winning personality. During her work as a nurse in a nursing home, she was popular with the residents. At home, on the other hand, she lived out her sadistic side. In the apartment she was dominant, not only with her two children, but also with changing partners and women who lived in the apartment at times.

Get into emotional dependency

Such a roommate was also the victim of the crime that the court is hearing. A few years before her death, Gabriele L. moved into the defendant’s apartment. L’s relatives testified at the beginning of the trial that she was mentally in a life crisis after a divorce and was therefore susceptible to manipulation. But even so, it can hardly be explained how she could become so mentally dependent that she put up with years of abuse from Manuela U. According to the prosecution and witness statements, she was beaten, scalded, or cold showered several times a week.

When Gabriele L. was killed in the apartment, Manuela U. “determined what happened,” says the psychiatrist. According to the prosecution, Patrick U. pulled a plastic bag over the victim’s head on the orders of his mother, Dennis L. came over and held the arms of the woman who struggled desperately in agony. Saß relates this act to the sadistic tendencies of Manuela U. It was not the first time that she exposed another person to the agony of suffocation. She even scared her own son Patrick into death by strangling him.