Munich knife attack: Assailant sent to psychiatric hospital

A condolence note, flowers and candles placed at the entrance to the railway station in Grafing near Munich, Germany, 11 May 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Flowers, cards and messages cover the steps of Grafing station where the attack took place

A man who killed one person and wounded three in a knife attack at a railway station near the German city of Munich has been sent to psychiatric hospital.

A medical expert said the 27-year-old German was mentally ill and at most could be held only partly responsible for his actions.

The man reportedly shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic), sparking fears of an extremist attack.

But the authorities says they have found no links to Islamic extremism.

"The investigating judge of Munich district court has ordered that the accused today be temporarily placed in a psychiatric hospital," said Bavarian police in a statement.

"According to a preliminary evaluation by a medical expert, the offender has a mental illness, and there are strong reasons to believe he committed the acts in a state of insanity or at least diminished criminal responsibility," the statement said.

Image copyright APTN
Image caption Hours after the attack, bloody footprints were visible on the station platform

'No threat to the public'

The man, known in the Germany media only as Paul H, had been reported as mentally confused on Sunday.

Relatives called the police, but when officers arrived at his home in Gruenberg in the central state of Hesse, they said they could not do anything because the man was deemed not to pose a threat to the public.

They advised the relatives to take him to a mental hospital, which they did. But after a short time on an open psychiatric ward, Paul H walked out and took the train to Munich.

There he attacked four people, on a train and the station platform in Grafing, a Bavarian town 40km (25 miles) east of Munich.

On Wednesday, the steps of the train station were covered with flowers and candles for the victims.

A 56-year-old man died, and three other men aged between 43 and 58 were now all said to be in a stable condition.

On Tuesday the mayor of Grafing, Angelika Obermayr, expressed shock at the attack.

"The idea that people get on an S-Bahn train on a beautiful morning or do their paper round and then become victims of a maniac is terrible," she said.

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