Europe

Germanwings crash: Fraudster posed as relative

French rescue workers gather in front of a memorial for the victims of the Germanwings air crash in Le Vernet, south-eastern France, on March 28, 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption After the crash, French rescue workers paid tribute to the 150 victims at a memorial erected to them in the Alps

A German court has convicted a woman of pretending to be related to a victim of the Germanwings plane crash last year in order to obtain compensation.

The airline's parent company, Lufthansa, twice flew the 35-year-old to France where the crash happened.

On one occasion she was accompanied by her two children and a friend. All were put up in a luxury hotel in Marseilles.

But investigators later found she had no links to the passenger she had claimed was her cousin.

One hundred and fifty people died in March last year when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked himself in the cockpit and deliberately crashed the plane to kill himself.

Among the dead were 16 students and two teachers from a school in western Germany.

The fraudster, named only as Sandra C, claimed to be related to one of the teachers.

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Her trips to the south of France were worth more than 15,000 euros (£13,400).

She was not present at the hearing in Cologne district court for medical reasons but was given a year's suspended prison sentence.

She may reject the verdict, which would send the case to trial.

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