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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
German 'grandpa' robbers jailed
From left, Rudolf Richter, Lothar Ackermann and Wilfried Ackermann
The judge said the robbers' crimes had a deep impact on their victims
A trio of pensioners known in Germany as the "Grandpa Gang" have been sentenced to a total of 31 years in jail for a series of bank robberies.

The men, aged between 64 and 74, were found guilty of robbing 14 banks over a period of 16 years.

They stole in total more than a million euros (700,000). They said the money was meant for their retirement.

The judge said the men, who often carried firearms on their heists, "used all means to achieve their goals".

Nobody was hurt during the robberies, although a shot was once fired.

But Judge Horst-Werner Herkenberg said the robberies had left a psychological impact on the victims, and it was that, rather than the amount of money stolen, that accounted for the length of the sentences handed out.

Rudolf Richter, 74, was jailed for nine years, and Wilfried Ackermann, 73, for 10.

They had both admitted their role in the robberies.

Lothar Ackermann, 64, did not enter a plea or testify at the trial, and was jailed for 12 years.

The men were arrested following their last raid, in 2004.

Wilfried Ackermann said he and Richter had met in prison on previous bank robbery charges, and hatched robbery plans once they were released.

Wilfried Ackermann said he had acted out of fear of ending his life poor and in a retirement home, although he stressed that was "not an excuse" for his behaviour.

Richter had been successfully running a motor work shop at the time. "I was an idiot. I didn't need to do it," he told the court in Hagen.


SEE ALSO:
German 'grandpas' go on trial
03 May 05 |  Europe



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