DRESDEN: A Russian-born German man admitted in court Wednesday to killing a pregnant Egyptian woman in a frenzied knife attack but denied he was driven by racism.
A spokesman for the regional court in the eastern German city of Dresden said Alex Wiens, 28, had one of his lawyers read out a statement before the judges in which he confessed to the murder of Marwa El-Sherbini on July 1.
It is true that I am hostile to foreigners but that was not the motive for fatally stabbing the headscarved El-Sherbini with an 18-centimeter (seven-inch) kitchen knife in another room of the same courthouse, the statement said.
Wiens said he had been in a strange state and had feared going to prison.
He said he always carried in his backpack the knife he used that day.
Arab media quickly dubbed El-Sherbini the veil martyr and the case triggered anti-German protests in Egypt and in the wider Muslim world. The trial opened on Oct. 26 under tight security.
El-Sherbini, three-months pregnant with her second child, had just testified against Wiens in a defamation case arising from a dispute on a playground near where they both lived in which he called her a terrorist and an Islamist.
As she attempted to leave, Wiens plunged the knife he had smuggled into the courtroom more than 16 times into her chest, arm and back.
When her husband tried to help, he too was stabbed several times, then shot by a policeman who apparently mistook him for the attacker.
El-Sherbini, 31, died of her wounds while still in the courtroom as her son Mustafa, aged three and a half, looked on. Her husband survived severely wounded and testified on the opening day of the trial.
Wiens said in the statement read out Wednesday that the stress of the defamation trial and fear of a stiff sentence that had led him to lash out.
Until now, Wiens had been uncooperative with the judges. He refused to remove his sunglasses in court, banged his head on a table and stamped his feet during the proceedings, and resisted attempts by guards to restrain him.
A verdict is expected Nov. 11. -Agencies