German crossbow deaths: Two shot through heart

The hotel where the incident happened, on the banks of the river Ilz, 11 May 19Image copyright

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The hotel is in a popular hiking location near Passau in Bavaria

Two German medieval combat enthusiasts killed with crossbows were shot through the heart with arrows and a third fatally through the neck, reports say.

The three were found in a hotel room in Bavaria on Saturday, along with three modern crossbows. Two were used to fire the arrows, prosecutors say.

A man and woman were in bed, hand in hand, impaled with arrows. A woman hit in the neck was lying on the floor.

The deaths, near Passau, were linked to two more deaths in north Germany.

Passau prosecutors are sure there was nobody else in the hotel room apart from the three who died. There was no sign of any struggle. The hotel is in an idyllic spot by the River Ilz, popular with hikers.

The three had checked in on Friday evening, for three nights without breakfast, and the bodies were found by a room maid.

Two wills were found in the room, the prosecutors’ spokesman said. They were linked to Torsten W, aged 53, and Kerstin E, aged 33, who were lying in bed. They were both from the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The third victim was named as Farina C, aged 30.

All three are listed on a website run by the International Jousting League, based in Belgium. But an IJL spokesman told the BBC that the listing merely meant they had registered as affiliates at some time in the past, and that he did not know them.

The IJL organises medieval-style tournaments and ranks its members according to their skill in the use of medieval weapons and horse-riding. But the spokesman said there was no competitive jousting in Germany at present.

What about the two deaths in north Germany?

The bodies of two women, each aged about 30, were found in a flat on Monday in Wittingen, a town 650km (400 miles) from the hotel.

German media report that one of them was the partner of Farina C, who was resident in the flat.

It is not clear how they died, but they were not shot with crossbows.

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A property in Wittingen was sealed off by police after the latest gruesome discovery

All five victims were resident in Germany.

Prosecutors said the bodies in Wittingen had been found “because one of the neighbours heard about the reports from Passau and told police that the letter box of the flat was overflowing and that a strange smell was coming from the flat”.

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Undertakers removed the bodies from the flat in Wittingen

What else is known about the victims?

The relationship between the three victims in the hotel remains unclear.

Torsten W had been shot twice in the head and three times in the chest, while Kerstin E, next to him in bed, had one arrow in the head and another in the chest.

Farina C was lying in front of the double bed and had one shot from a crossbow between the throat and the chin.

Crossbows can fire either bolts or short arrows. Hunting with bows or crossbows is banned in Germany, but anyone aged 18 and above can buy a crossbow.

Another hotel guest told local newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that it had been a “completely quiet night”.

Police seized a white truck, parked outside, registered in Westerwald, Rhineland-Palatinate. It had a sticker with the letters FMJ – believed to be a reference to Full Metal Jacket crossbow arrows made by a US firm, Easton Hunting.

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Three crossbows were found in the hotel room with the three bodies

Torsten W had a long white beard and the women were dressed in black, another hotel guest said, describing them as “strange”.

On arrival on Friday evening they simply wished other guests a “good evening” and went upstairs to their second-floor room with bottles of water and Coca-Cola, said the guest, quoted by the daily Merkur.

In Wittingen a neighbour quoted by Merkur described Farina C as “always a bit odd – always dressed in black, sort of gothic”.

The German Shooting Union (DSB) has 3,000 enthusiasts who use crossbows, Spiegelonline news reports. In all, the DSB has about 1.35 million members.

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