DORTMUND – A 29-year-old man was sentenced in Germany to 14 years in jail on Tuesday for carrying out a bombing attack on the bus of the Borussia Dortmund football team in April 2017.
A court in the western city of Dortmund found the man, a dual German-Russian national identified under German privacy laws as Sergei V, guilty of 28 counts of attempted murder for the attack on April 11, 2017.
Sergei V barely reacted as the judge read the sentence. Throughout the trial, he had reiterated how he had on purpose built and placed the bombs so that there would not be severe damage.
“I didn’t want to kill or injure anyone, but instead just create a disaster scenario,” he said. Judge Peter Windgaetter responded on Tuesday, saying that the court refuted most of Sergei V’s points.
Windgaetter took an hour to read the court’s decision, setting the scene of the day of the attack, with tens of thousands of fans left horrified and angry as news that the game in Dortmund they were looking forward to that night had to be cancelled after the attack.
The judge also underscored how the attack darkened the lives of the team, the players and their supervisors, which was evident after hearing hours of witness testimony. “This attack has changed my life,” said goalie at the time, Roman Weidenfeller, during the trial.
Defender Marca Barta and a police officer were injured in the bombing, which occurred as the bus was leaving the hotel where the team were staying before a Champions League match against AS Monaco.
The public prosecutor had sought a life sentence for Sergei V, who carried out the attack as part of an elaborate money-making scheme. He said he was “not unhappy” with the decision passed down Tuesday.
The defending lawyers, who had argued that Sergei V should only be found guilty of causing an explosion, punishable by a prison sentence of under 10 years, expressed a similar sentiment to the sentencing.
It was unclear whether they were planning to appeal the decision.
Sergei V had been accused of having set off three devices in an attempt to kill the players and cause shares in the club to tumble on the stock exchange.
He has admitted building the bombs and setting them off, but has denied intending to kill anyone, claiming he only wanted to create panic and fear.
He had bet on a fall in the football club’s stock price, hoping to profit by “tens of thousands of euros,” he confessed. -DPA