Meet Marianne Bachmeier, Germany’s ‘Revenge Mother’ Who Shot Her Child’s Murderer In The Middle Of His Trial
Marianne Bachmeier opened fire in a crowded courtroom in March 1981 and killed Klaus Grabowski, the man on trial for the murder of her 7-year-old daughter. Marianne Bachmeier opened fire in a crowded courthouse in what was then West Germany on March 6, 1981. Her victim was a 35-year-old sex offender on trial for the murder of her daughter, and he died after taking six of her bullets.
Bachmeier quickly became a well-known figure. Her subsequent trial, which was closely watched by the German public, raised the question of whether her action to avenge her slain child was justified.
The case is still remembered forty years later. The German news outlet NDR called it “the most incredible case of vigilante justice in German postwar history.”
Anna Bachmeier, Marianne Bachmeier’s daughter, is murdered in cold blood. Marianne Bachmeier, Germany’s “Revenge Mother,” was a struggling single mother who ran a pub in 1970s Lübeck, a city in what was then West Germany. Anna, her third child, lived with her. Her two older children had been placed for adoption.
Anna Bachmeier, Marianne Bachmeier’s daughter, is murdered in cold blood. Before she was christened as Germany’s “aAnna,” she was described as a “happy, open-minded child,” but tragedy struck on May 5, 1980, when she was discovered dead.
According to NDR, the seven-year-old had skipped school that fatal day after an argument with her mother and ended up in the hands of her 35-year-old neighbor, a local butcher named Klaus Grabowski, who already had a criminal record involving child molestation. In the film “Revenge Mother,” Marianne Bachmeier was a struggling single mother who ran a pub in 1970s Lübeck, West Germany. Anna, her third child, lived with her. Her two older children had been placed for adoption.
Investigators later discovered that Grabowski had kept Anna at his house for several hours before strangling her with pantyhose. It’s unclear whether he sexually assaulted her. He then placed the child’s body in a cardboard box on the bank of a nearby canal.
After his fiancée alerted the police, Grabowski was apprehended that same evening. Grabowski confessed to the murder but denied abusing the child. Grabowski instead told a strange and disturbing story.
According to the murderer, he choked the little girl after she attempted to blackmail him. Grabowski claims that Anna tried to seduce him and threatened to tell her mother that he had molested her if he did not give her money.
Marianne Bachmeier was outraged by this story, and when Grabowski went on trial for murder a year later, she had her revenge.
Grabowski is shot by Germany’s ‘Revenge Mother.’ Six occasions Bachmeier’s heartbreak was most likely caused by Grabowski’s trial. His defense attorneys claimed he acted inappropriately due to a hormonal imbalance caused by hormone therapy he received after being voluntarily castrated years before.
To avoid recidivism, sex offenders in Germany were frequently castrated at the time, but this was not the case for Grabowski.
Marianne Bachmeier took a.22-caliber Beretta pistol from her bag on the third day of her trial in Lübeck district court and pulled the trigger eight times. Six of the shots struck Grabowski, who died on the courtroom floor.
According to witnesses, Bachmeier made incriminating remarks after she shot Grabowski. When Judge Guenther Kroeger spoke to Bachmeier after she shot Grabowski in the back, she overheard the bereaved mother say, “I wanted to kill him.”
“He murdered my daughter,” Bachmeier allegedly continued. I wanted to shoot him in the face, but I accidentally shot him in the back… “I hope he’s gone.” Two police officers also claimed to have overheard Bachmeier refer to Grabowski as a “pig” after she shot him.
The mum of the victim shortly found herself on trial for killing herself.
Bachmeier testified during her trial that she shot Grabowski in a dream and saw visions of her daughter in the courtroom. Bachmeier was asked for a handwriting sample by the doctor who examined her, and her response was: “I did it for you, Anna.”
She then added seven hearts to the sample, one for each year of Anna’s life.
“I heard he wanted to make a statement,” Bachmeier later explained, referring to Grabowski’s claims that her seven-year-old was blackmailing him. “Now comes the following lie about this victim, who was my child,” I thought.
The country is divided over her sentence.
Marianne Bachmeier was now in the midst of a public uproar. Her brutal act of vigilantism drew international attention to her trial.
The weekly German magazine Stern published a series of articles about the trial, delving into Bachmeier’s life as a working single mother who had a difficult childhood. Bachmeier allegedly sold her story to the magazine for about $158,000 in order to cover her legal expenses during the trial.
Readers responded enthusiastically to the magazine. Was Marianne Bachmeier simply attempting to avenge her child’s death, or did her act of vigilantism turn her into a cold-blooded murderer herself? Many people sympathized with her intentions but condemned her actions.
Aside from the ethical quandary, there was also a legal debate over whether the shooting was premeditated or not, and whether it was murder or manslaughter. Different rulings resulted in varying punishments. Decades later, a friend who appeared in a documentary about the case claimed to have seen Bachmeier practise shooting with a gun in her pub cellar prior to the shooting.
Bachmeier was eventually convicted of premeditated manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison in 1983.
According to a survey by the Allensbach Institute, a majority of 28 percent of Germans considered her six-year sentencing as a reasonable penalty for her actions. Another 27 percent considered the sentence too heavy while 25 percent viewed it as too light.
Marianne Bachmeier was released from prison in June 1985, having served only half of her sentence. She relocated to Nigeria, where she married and lived until the 1990s. Bachmeier divorced her husband and moved to Sicily, where she stayed until she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at which point she returned to a reunified Germany. With precious little time left, Bachmeier asked NDR reporter Lukas Maria Böhmer to film her final weeks alive. She died on September 17, 1996, at the age of 46. She was buried next to her daughter, Anna.