Anna Bachmeier was seven years old when she was abducted, raped, and murdered by Klaus Grabowski. In the courtroom during his trial, Anna’s mother, Marianne Bachmeier, shot Grabowski 8 times. He died on the courtroom floor.
Anna Bachmeier was born in Lübeck, Germany, on November 14, 1972 to Marianne Bachmeier, 23. Anna’s father chose not to be involved in the pregnancy or Anna’s upbringing, so Marianne was raising Anna as a single parent. Marianne worked as a waitress in Lübeck while Anna attended elementary school.
On the morning of May 5, 1980, Anna had an argument with her mother. She was upset and wanted to see a friend of hers, so Anna opted to skip school that day. Shortly after leaving her home pretending to go to school, Anna was lured into an apartment by a neighbor, Klaus Grabowski, a 35-year-old butcher with a promise that she could play with his cats.
Grabowski sexually assaulted Anna for several hours before strangling her with a pair of his fiancé’s tights. He tied her body up using skills he had learned in his profession. Grabowski placed Anna’s body in a box and buried her on the banks of the local canal in a shallow grave. When his fiancé returned home from work later that afternoon and learned what he had done, she immediately contacted the police. Investigators discovered Anna’s remains and arrested Grabowski for her abduction, rape, and murder.
Klaus Grabowski was very well known in the community and among law enforcement. He had received a probation sentence in 1973 for strangling a 6-year-old girl. In a second attack just a couple of years later, he sexually molested two 9-year-old children. Grabowski accepted the option of chemical castration in lieu of a prison sentence in 1976. In 1978, approximately two years later, Grabowski secretly began hormone therapy to reverse the effects of the chemical castration.
The Trial and Death of Grabowski
The trial against Grabowski began on March 3, 1981. Grabowski had testified that 7-year-old Anna had attempted to seduce him and that he had killed her because she had threatened to tell her mother of the attack unless he gave her money. Marianne Bachmeier took personal offense at Grabowski’s allegations regarding her daughter. On March 6, 1981, Bachmeier could secretly carry a.22 caliber Beretta 70 pistol in her purse into the packed courtroom. She saw Grabowski in the front of the courtroom. Bachmeier raised the Beretta 70 and opened fire on Grabowski. She fired 8 shots, striking him 7 times. Some reports say that he died almost instantly on the courtroom floor. It should be noted that other reports suggest he died on the way to the hospital.
Marianne Bachmeier’s Arrest and Sentencing
Marianne Bachmeier was immediately taken into custody with no resistance or issue. She told the courtroom judge that was present, “I wanted to kill him. I wanted to shoot him in the face, but I shot him in the back… I hope he’s dead.” In her official statement, she wrote, “I did it for you, Anna.” She included seven hearts to depict the seven years of Anna’s life.
In 1983, Marianne Bachmeier was given a prison sentence of six years for premeditated manslaughter, which she served without incident. She was released on parole in June 1985. Parole was continued for two years and ten months following her release.
Bachmeier’s Final Years
In the later part of 1985, Bachmeier married a (unnamed) German school teacher and moved to Lagos, Nigeria in 1988 on a teaching sabbatical. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1990 and Marianne spent a short time in Sicily where she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She returned to Lübeck, Germany, for the remainder of her life. Marianne Bachmeier died from Pancreatic Cancer on September 17, 1996.
Marianne and Anna Bachmeier are buried together at Burgtorfriedhof in Lübeck, Germany.
This case caused an international media frenzy. Two main points stood out among public opinion. The first was that individuals sided with Marianne Bachmeier, stating that she did the right thing by taking the life of the man who confessed to abducting, raping and murdering her 7-year-old-daughter. The second opinion was that she should not have killed him because he was due his day in court to defend himself, although he had made a very thorough confession to investigators and offered the same during two days of court proceedings.