A Ghanaian asylum seeker has been charged with raping a woman at knifepoint in front of her boyfriend days after learning he was going to be deported from Germany.
Erik X. is accused of forcing his way into the tent of a couple camping in Siegaue nature reserve where the River Sieg flows into the Rhine, near Bonn in western Germany.
Police say he threatened them with a tree saw, ordered them to hand over their valuables and then raped the 23-year-old woman, forcing her boyfriend to watch.
The public prosecutor’s office has now officially charged the 31-year-old, whose full name has been withheld under Germany’s strict privacy laws, with aggravated rape and predatory blackmail.
Erik X. received a notice from the German authorities ten days before the alleged rape that he would face deportation to Italy – where he originally entered the Schengen zone – because his asylum application had been rejected.
Police say he entered the camping area at night and stole a blanket, backpack and duffel bag as well as a machete-like tree saw.
Just after midnight on April 2, he cut open the tarpaulin of the tent the couple, from the Stuttgart area in south-western Germany, were staying in.
According to the police investigation, he dragged the blonde woman out of the tent, threatening her with the tree saw to stop the boyfriend from intervening.
Her boyfriend eventually managed to alert the police. The attacker fled towards the Rhine. Both of the victims are currently receiving psychological care.
Erik X. was spotted days later walking along River Rhine in the Bonn neighbourhood of Beuel, holding one of the items he was accused of stealing.
He denied the offence despite reports his DNA matched samples found at the scene.
His lawyer Martin Moersdorf said: ‘We discussed the case, discussed the evidence, but at the present time I advised my client not to comment on the allegation.’
The trial is set to start in September in Bonn.