German taxi driver says he was driving man to local brothel

Man, believed to be Enda McLaughlin (27) from Donegal, was fatally injured on a motorway


A German taxi driver who drove a man allegedly behind a German stabbing spree has said he was not driving him to Cologne, as reported, but to a local brothel.

German police say they cannot yet positively identify the man behind Monday’s stabbing spree near Cologne as Irishman Enda McLaughlin from Donegal.

The 27 year-old from Cardonagh was identified by Gardaí as having died in Germany on Monday. German police say they are investigating the death of a man who was knocked down and killed on a motorway in Germany early on Monday morning after allegedly stabbing three people: a Dutch taxi driver, a man in the western city of Aachen and an Estonian truck driver at a nearby motorway rest stop.

A second taxi driver from Aachen, who drove the man to the scene of his death, denied reports they were driving to Cologne, 70 km away.

“He said in English ‘I want to go to girls’,” the taxi driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Irish Times. “I got details of a local brothel and we were driving there. He seemed a little nervous but nothing unusual.”

While on the motorway the passenger asked the driver to pull into a rest stop so the passenger could go to the toilet. While he was outside, the driver heard a description of a violent man with a knife from the radio dispatcher: short blonde hair, black t-shirt and dark trousers, around 175cm (5’9).

“Just as he reached for the handle of the door to open it, I decided it was him, stamped on the gas pedal and sped away,” he said.

The driver said he saw no sign of the knife used in the stabbings, nor did he see any blood on the man’s clothing. Minutes earlier the man is believed to have stabbed a Dutch taxi driver and a passerby in Aachen.

German police say they believe the man was travelling with a group in the Netherlands. They are still investigating why he headed into Germany on his own and say they have, as yet, no motive for the attacks.

The drama began in the Dutch border town of Heerlen around 1am on Monday morning when the man got into a taxi operated by a local taxi company and asked to be driven 20km to Aachen. At the destination the passenger got into a dispute with the 50 year-old driver over the fare.

“The man got out and wanted to run away, my employee ran after him and said in English, ‘you have to pay’,” said Fred Reuters from the Dutch taxi company, to German television. “He’d barely said anything when the man rammed a knife into his stomach.”

After stabbing the Dutch taxi driver in Aachen, the knife-wielding man ran into in a parallel street and demanded money from a passerby. When the 49 year-old man refused he too was stabbed. Both the passerby and the Dutch taxi driver were rushed to hospital.

“The two men are still receiving medical treatment but are not in a critical condition,” said Dr Jost Schützeberg, state prosecutor spokesman in Aachen, this morning. “They have given statements and identified the man from photographs. They are very shocked, neither expected to be attacked with a knife.”

Around 1.20am the man then got into a second taxi driven by a local Aachen driver. At the passenger’s request, the driver pulled into a motorway rest stop near the city of Düren, around 50 km from Aachen so the man could use the toilet. As the man walked back to the cab, the driver heard a warning and description over the taxi dispatch radio and sped off.

“I had goosebumps but thought it would be best to drive on,” he said. “I feel I just had luck, like an angel was watching over me, it was a terrible situation.”

As he sped away from the scene he called the police at 2.45am. Around the same time thereafter the knife-wielding man sought out a third and final victim, a Estonian truck driver taking a break at the motorway rest stop.

After stabbing him, the attacker then ran onto the motorway where he was struck and rolled over by a British couple driving a black Mercedes. The car fender was mangled and the windscreen shattered by the force of the impact, which, according to reports, left the man’s body “almost unrecognisable”.

An initial post-mortem on the body at Cologne university hospital revealed the death by multiple traumas from the impact.

“Whether the victim was under the influence of alcohol drugs or other medication will take about two weeks to find out,” said the spokesman for the Aachen investigation.

During the investigation, the A4 motorway to Cologne was closed to traffic while investigators recorded the scene of the incident. The roadblock caused tailbacks of up to 10km with some motorists stuck in traffic jams for up to six hours on Monday morning.

Investigators were initially puzzled by the identity of the man, but discovered English-language documents on his body, believed to be prison ID, which lead them to presume he was of British or Irish nationality. German investigators said this morning they were as yet unable to identify with 100 per cent certainty the victim as Enda McLaughlin from Co Donegal. They took fingerprints and put them into Europol system.

“We have to wait for a 100 per cent confirmation before we can name the victim,” said an investigator in Aachen.

Irish sources have declined to confirm officially the identity of the dead man as Mr McLaughlin, 27, from Donegal, until the German investigation is completed.