Passers-by describe the scene as horrific as an African man poured petrol on his wife in broad daylight in the northern German town of Kronshagen, near Kiel on Wednesday.
The Kieler Nachrichten, a daily newspaper, reports that the man poured fuel over his wife, both originally from Togo, as she left a clinic in the town before setting her ablaze. Police sources told the newspaper that a “fire accelerant” had been used.
The paper also spoke to witnesses who said that the woman, 38, ran down the street away from the suspect as flames rose from her body screaming for help. Several people attempted to put out the fire, but not before the woman had been badly burnt.
Ambulance crews took the severely burned woman, identified in media report simply as Delali A., to a specialist clinic shortly afterwards, but she later died from her injuries. The 41-year-old husband, who attempted to escape from the scene of the incident, has been arrested. “We think it’s clear in this case that malevolence and brutality, both requisites for a murder charge, exist,” said state prosecutor Axel Bieler on Thursday.
Angela Hauschild, an eye-witness and one of those who helped called emergency doctors to the scene, said: “It seemed an eternity until the flames were out. Her screams will haunt me for the rest of my life.
“I just saw a flame, a man …. and a woman on fire, in flames, screaming and screaming and screaming.
“Passers-by immediately rushed to help and tried to extinguish the flames on the woman’s body.
“The flames were almost extinguished, she began to burn again, from head to toe in flames, with a fire extinguisher and blankets they succeeded to finally stop the fire.”
Other eye-witnesses heard the victim cry “my children, what will become of my children?” as she was taken into an ambulance.
The couple, who have two sons, aged 3 and 7, had lived in Germany for many years, police report. Authorities added that they believe the motive for the crime was a relationship dispute between the husband and wife, who lived separately from one another at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile several commemorative events are being held in Kronshagen for the victim who was said to have been actively engaged in social projects in the town. She was a prominent member of the “Frauenwege in Togo”, a women’s group that promotes development projects in Togo.