Murder adds to shock of German politician’s suicide

Pirate Party’s Gerwald Claus-Brunner believed to have killed ex-boyfriend before suicide

Pirate Party parliamentary representative Gerwald Claus-Brunner, who apparently murdered a 29-year-old man he had been stalking before electrocuting himself in his own apartment. Photograph: Sebastian Kahnert/EPA

Pirate Party parliamentary representative Gerwald Claus-Brunner, who apparently murdered a 29-year-old man he had been stalking before electrocuting himself in his own apartment. Photograph: Sebastian Kahnert/EPA

 

Gerwald Claus-Brunner was a 44-year-old dungarees-loving bisexual computer programmer who served for five years with the anti-establishment Pirate Party in Berlin’s state parliament.

Anticipating voter rejection of him and his party in Sunday’s state election, the 6-foot-5 ex-politician apparently murdered a 29-year-old man he had been stalking and transported the body 15km across the city before electrocuting himself in his own apartment.

The prosecutor denied earlier reports that there was sexual violence.*

The murder-suicide has a further twist: Claus-Brunner told his political colleagues that he had inherited an terminal genetic disorder – but according to the Bild tabloid, first postmortem results suggest he made that up.

The dead politician’s victim was a former employee and boyfriend, according to Pirate Party colleagues, but they had separated in June, a break-up Claus-Brunner had taken badly. According to police reports, in June the 29-year-old reported the ex-politician for stalking.

In the 29-year-old’s apartment in Berlin’s northern Wedding district, police found a large pool of blood but no body. It was stripped, tied with cable ties and transported – apparently on a two-wheeled trolley – to Claus-Brunner’s apartment in the southwest neighbourhood of Steglitz.

Colleagues of Claus-Brunner, unable to reach him over the weekend, notified the police who found in his apartment a “blood-curdling scene”.

The 29-year-old appears to have been struck on the head with a blunt instrument, but died by strangling.

On Friday Claus-Brunner, a self-described Twitter addict, posted on the service: “A real shitty day today, beats all bad days I’ve experienced to date. Hope the weekend will be better.”

Neighbours of Claus-Brunner last saw him on Saturday and police believe he killed himself some time between then and Sunday morning, by electrocution.

The Pirates entered the Berlin parliament in 2011 with a programme that appealed to young digital natives and a promise to shake up the political establishment. But it was soon riven with dissent, feuds and walk-outs and it was ejected after just one term.

In June Claus-Brunner predicted Berlin MPs would soon “have to stand up at the start of some sitting and hold a minute’s silence for me”.

He sent a suicide letter to the Pirate Party, which it received on Monday. After issuing a statement mourning their dead colleague, on Tuesday the party issued a second statement, “mourning with the relatives and friends of the victim”, adding: “In any case, it’s a human tragedy.”

*This article was updated at 3.45pm on September 21st to correct a factual error.