Berlin car racers sentenced to life for murder over fatal crash

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Image caption,
Hamdi H appeared bewildered by the ruling, reports said

A Berlin court has sentenced two men to life on murder charges for killing a motorist during an illegal car race in the first case of its kind in Germany.

The men in their 20s were driving at up to 160km/h (100 mph) on a main shopping street when one smashed into another car, killing the 69-year-old driver.

Prosecutors argued that the men had accepted their actions were potentially lethal, showing "conditional intent".

Defence lawyers had called for charges of manslaughter and dangerous driving.

One of the defendants, named only as Hamdi H, appeared bewildered by the ruling, Bild newspaper reported.

But Judge Ralph Ehestadt at the Berlin regional court told him: "Of course you had no intent to kill. You did not want to kill Mr W in his jeep. But you were acting with conditional intent."

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Image caption,
Marvin N was also convicted of murder

Hamdi H and his co-defendant, named as Marvin N, encountered each other in their Audi and Mercedes cars in February last year.

They accelerated down the Kurfurstendamm - one of the German capital's most popular shopping streets - before Hamdi H crashed into the jeep. Marvin N then crashed into Hamdi H's car. The collisions flung the jeep 70m down the road.

Both men walked away from the crash with minor injuries.

During the case a psychologist said one of the men had "massively overestimated himself" as a driver, wanted to win the race to "enhance his ego" and had no sense of his own guilt, Deutsche Welle reported.

The judgement at the Berlin regional court is not yet legally binding, Deutsche Welle said.

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