Irishman suspected of planning attack in Germany could face 10 years in prison

Man (53) arrested man in Frankfurt after he threatened attack using cache of weapons

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

 

German prosecutors say a 53-year-old Irishman on remand in Frankfurt could face up to 10 years in prison after threatening a violent attack using a weapons cache of guns, rifles, samurai swords and a crossbow.

The unnamed 53 year-old Irishman, of no fixed address in Germany but believed to be a long-term resident, was arrested last Thursday and brought before a remand judge on Friday.

He is being held at Frankfurt’s Weiterstadt prison as prosecutors build a case against him. A state prosecutor spokesman said the case would be expedited, given he is facing the charge of preparation of a serious violent attack of danger to the state.

“The man has no fixed address but said he would carry out an attack on July 20th, but we don’t know where or how, it was very fuzzy,” said Ms Nadja Niessen, spokeswoman for the Frankfurt state prosecutor’s office. “The evidence will be examined, we will see if he speaks and we will carry out the usual investigation procedures.”

Though expedited, it is likely to be months before a case is brought, during which time the man is likely to undergo psychological assessment.

Last week Frankfurt police identified the Irishman as the author of a series of letters to various authorities in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located. The series of letters – which began earlier this year – varied in tone and content from confused to threatening.

“In the letters, he complained about alleged injustices on the part of the state authorities,” Frankfurt police said in a statement.

The letters were peppered with random excerpts from legal texts which the police said indicated psychological problems. Police decided to track down the author after the most recent letter made a concrete threat of an attack.

“In letters with identical contents sent to several authorities, the suspect announced the intention to carry out an unspecified attack,” Frankfurt police added.

In a major police operation last Thursday he was tracked down to a garden allotment to the north of Frankfurt city centre strewn with abandoned cars, shipping containers and other detritus. On the site police found a cache of weapons they said were “suited to an attack”.

Two images of the weapons recovered show a crossbow, nine samurai swords and 14 firearms, including automatic weapons, a rifle and six gas pistols. Some of the weapons require hunting licenses, said a police spokesman, while the knives are freely available to buy.

Police say they have now dismissed a previous theory linking the man to Germany’s Reichsbürger scene, a small group of mostly far-right extremists who refuse to recognise the modern German state.