Death on the Autobahn

Suddenly, the weird death of a criminal on a German motorway … is headline news in Ireland. Because it seems that the man who first stabbed three other men and than tried to flee across the busy Autobahn near Aachen was, actually, Irish. From Donegal. And fresh from doing time, as the 27-year-old “has more than 23 previous convictions and has appeared regularly in court” (Irish Examiner).

Anyway – while I tend to refrain from the garish, ghoulish rehash of news, a paragraph in the Aachener Zeitung (from the article in the screenshot above) had me actually laughing out loud. Because it was, in itself, quite bizarre:

Der Mann war beim Versuch, die Autobahn zu überqueren, überfahren worden. In dem Auto saßen ein Mann und eine Frau aus England. Die Staatsanwaltschaft wertet das als Zufall.

In rough translation: “The man was run over as he attempted to cross the motorway. Occupants of the car were a man and a woman from England. The State Prosecution Service is classifying this as happenstance.” Well, what else can it be?

I have this mental image of roving bands of English motorists going up and down the German Autobahn, just waiting for that moment when they can mow down an Irishman. As is their wont. Anglo-Norman conquerors, John Bull’s tyranny and all that. Or do I have it the wrong way and after stabbing a Dutchman, a German, and an Estonian … a gallant Irish freedom fighter finally identified a worthwhile target in an approaching British car, making a desperate bid for 32-county-freedom by launching himself in a suicide attack?

As I said … it is quite bizarre …

But maybe nothing less bizarre than the rent-a-quote as used in the Irish Independent:

A busy Cologne taxi company said the incident had “shocked all the drivers, nothing like this has ever happened before.”

Nothing? Ever before? C’mon, guys … there was a spate of murdered taxi drivers nearly fifty years ago, I saw a taxi driver knifed to death in my hometown in the 1970s, assault and murder are one of the risks in the profession. A quick search on Google will find at least one murdered taxi driver just outside Cologne (in 2005).

A bizarre case, with bizarre reporting … that’s why I had to include it.

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And an addendum “the day after” – if you thought it could not get any more bizarre, have a look at the Irish Examiner of today (June 26th). Apart from the comments by the grieving father (“never really given a fair go at an ordinary life”, “he was always up against it”, “the system let him down”) it is now revealed that Enda McLaughlin’s mother died in 2010 of … Spontaneous Human Combustion.

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