German, 19, on trial for 'darknet' knife murders

Berlin (AFP) –


A teenager went on trial in Germany on Friday accused of two knife killings that shocked the country, including the murder of a child he allegedly bragged about on the internet.

Marcel Hesse, 19, remained silent in court, but his lawyer Michael Emde said he did not deny the charges against him.

Prosecutors say Hesse lured a local nine-year-old boy into his basement and stabbed him 52 times with a folding knife in March this year.

He allegedly boasted about the murder in a video clip he published on the darknet, a hidden online arena notoriously used by criminals to trade weapons, drugs and child pornography.

Police discovered the child's body in Hesse's home in the western town of Herne, sparking a major manhunt.

Prosecutor Danyal Maibaum said Hesse, described as unemployed and socially withdrawn, was hiding at the home of a 22-year-old man he knew from training college.

When his friend realised Hesse was a murder suspect on the run and said he wanted to call police, Hesse allegedly killed him too, stabbing him 68 times.

Hesse later set the apartment on fire, but soon after walked into a restaurant and shouted "call the police, I'm wanted", media reported at the time.

Security was tight at the court, which has set another 10 hearings in the trial until mid-October.