TV column “Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved”: Because a man recognizes his ladder, the police roll up a 23-year-old murder again

In “Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved”, Rudi Cerne reports on three murders that “get under your skin”. There are three brutal, particularly devious cases. Three crimes that seemingly came out of the blue.

“Who does that? Why?” Horst Strohe’s mother sits on the Cologne Presidium. Her son is dead. He was “practically kicked to death” on the night of September 13, 1992, as presenter Rudi Cerne says. Horst’s father was also at the police station on this black day in 1992. He only wants to know one thing: “Was Horst kicked to death because he was gay?” The police officers don’t know. Til today. 29 years have passed since then. Was Horst Strohe just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

A case that gets under your skin with “Aktenzeichen XY”: Was straw murdered because he was gay?

The homosexual Horst Strohe was 54 years old at the time. On the night of his death he was out and about in gay bars in the south of Cologne’s Heumarkt. He was a programmer in a bank’s computer center. He had money. He didn’t have a current boyfriend. It was shortly before one o’clock when Strohe was near the Am Malzbüchel bus stop.

The Hotel Maritim is not far away. Witnesses watched a man knock straws down with a karate kick and kick them mercilessly. The perpetrator could have been a martial artist. Light shirt, light pants. A snake pattern on the back.

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Guilty conscience?

“Three murders with human fates that get under the skin,” was how dramatically presenter Cerne had announced the program, with “asking the police for help”. In fact, they are crimes that can happen to anyone. The viewer sees Dirk Strohe in the film at the grave of his dead brother Horst. His eyes are puffy red.

He says: “It is unbelievable how mom suffers and also that you are simply no longer there.” Of course, actors play the real people in the little strips. But that doesn’t make the scene any less poignant. The police hope that possible confidants have a bad conscience and unpack. This is also the case with Rebwar Khasraw.

Like in a bloodlust

The Iraqi came back from the night shift as a forklift driver. It is shortly before midnight on August 26, 2020. Screams echo through the Dortmund high-rise estate that night. Rebwar Khasraw dies after being stabbed more than 40 times. The perpetrator hits the heart and lungs several times. An unidentified man in a hooded jacket was seen by local residents several times in the days before. He wears gloves. It is summer. It has a southern appearance, witnesses report.

Is he the killer? “That was overkill,” explains moderator Cerne. “The victim was inflicted more injuries than would have been necessary to kill him.” The Kripo sets out a reward of 5000 euros. She is looking for a mentally ill person or a perpetrator who had a personal motive. Cerne says: “He stabbed like in a blood frenzy – over and over again.”

A fruit grower recognizes his ladder

XY titled the third case “Assault with a fatal outcome”. That sounds almost harmless. He is the most devious one. It happened 23 years ago. But the trail is hot again because a fruit farmer recently appeared at the police station who had heard from the manager who played an important role in this case. “It’s my ladder,” says the man.

The crime took place in Bergkamen. It can be assumed that somehow the word got around to the two perpetrators that the 84-year-old Saußen was keeping thousands of euros in her two-room apartment on the first floor of an apartment building. On the night of March 24, 1998, two perpetrators got in through their open toilet window with the help of the fruit grower’s ladder. The ladder was only 400 meters from the crime scene. Did the perpetrators know the area?

“Mercilessly slammed”

The men, of whom there is no description, had tied the old lady’s feet and hands with tape and wrapped the tape around her victim’s head several times. The cleaning assistant finds the woman suffocated in agony the morning after.

The Kripo has exposed 5,000 euros for clues that lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. The police believe that the former residents of two now closed homeless shelters may be able to provide information. In this case, the possible robberies would be quickly convicted. The police secured traces of DNA. A suitable comparison would be the irrefutable evidence.

Rudi Cerne says: “The perpetrators struck mercilessly.” Perhaps the police will strike back.

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