Police are carrying out round-the-clock patrols on the homes of two schoolgirls who fatally stabbed a 12-year-old classmate in Germany, it has emerged.
Officers have urged people not to share the identities of the suspects – aged 12 and 13 – on social media amid fears of vigilante attacks, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Pictures of the girls with the word ‘killer’ are readily available on various sites as outrage grows over the fact both will escape justice because they are below the age of criminal responsibility in Germany, which is 14. A petition demanding the law be changed has now gathered around 150,000 signatures.
Death threats have been made online against the girls and they and their families have been moved from their homes in the sleepy village of Freudenberg near Cologne following the brutal stabbing of Luise Frisch, 12, earlier this month.
Patrol cars have been stationed outside the suspects’ homes and it is unlikely that their families will ever be able to return.
Luise’s body was found on March 12 in the sleepy village of Freudenberg near Cologne – a day after she was reported missing by her worried parents
Police (pictured near the scene in Freudenberg) have also urged people not to share the names and images of the suspects on social media
In a statement police said: ‘After the homicide in Freudenberg, the public prosecutor and the police warn against speculation and the resulting spread of false reports.
‘Due to the broad public interest and the associated sympathy, rumours about the alleged background of the incident keep coming up.
‘Apparently, there is speculation, especially on social media, that does not match the current status of the investigation. The public’s need for information is very high in the present case, but due to the protection of all personal rights by the investigating authorities, no detailed information can be published.
‘The public prosecutor’s office and the police therefore ask not to participate in any speculation and not to fuel the discussions about the background to the incident, also to protect the relatives.’
Luise was stabbed more than 30 times in the attack on March 11 and her body was then pushed over an embankment in a secluded wood in Hohenhain, near Freudenberg.
The suspects even posted a picture of themselves dancing on TikTok the following day just as Luise’s body was found by police after her parents raised the alarm.
Later this week a private memorial service will be held for her at the Evangelical Church in Freudenberg where her family worshipped and it will be relayed back to her school for friends.
Meanwhile despite public anger at the fact both girls will not face a criminal trial, judges and the Ministry of Justice have said it is unlikely the law covering the age of responsibility will be changed.
This is murdered German schoolgirl Luise Frisch (right) appearing in a TikTok video with a 12-year-old classmate accused of killing her
The 13-year-old suspect also posted a video on TikTok showing herself dancing just hours after Luise’s body was found
Speaking to MailOnline a senior official in Germany’s Association of Judges warned against a knee-jerk reaction to lowering the country’s age of criminal responsibility.
Law professor Gerd Hamme said ‘decisions made’ during ’emotionally heated’ events was not a ‘good basis’ for legislative change – as an online petition demanding the law be changed had gathered almost 150,000 signatures.
Currently the age of criminal responsibility in Germany is 14 years old – in Britain it is ten – and the murder of Luise, the first youngster killed by children in living memory, has sparked huge debate over when a young person should be tried.
An autopsy carried out at the University of Mainz described it as a ‘bloody attack and frenzied killing’ – all of which has added to calls for a change in the age limit for children to be put on trial.
Professor Hamme said: ‘In Germany, it is the task of the legislator to check whether 14 years is the right limit for criminal responsibility. A change only seems necessary to me, if the abilities of the children and young people and their maturity have changed compared to before.
‘I have no evidence of this and in any case, the current point in time is very unsuitable for making decisions on changing the criminal responsibility limit. Because at the moment the mood is emotionally very heated. While this is entirely understandable, it is not a good basis for revising tried-and-tested regulations. It is better to approach this with a cool head.
Flowers and candles placed close to the scene of where Luise’s body was discovered last week
‘In public, there is a discussion about changing the limits for criminal responsibility because of the terrible crime in Freudenberg. However, the discussion is not characterised by factual arguments, but by dismay and horror. In my opinion, the legislature should check whether our current regulations are still appropriate.
‘However, they should let some time pass from the Freudenberg case before decisions are made. It is correct that the two alleged perpetrators cannot be charged by a public prosecutor and convicted by a criminal court. However, the state is not standing idly by.
‘Rather, the youth welfare offices in Germany are taking responsibility for it. There are several parenting measures that can be taken.
‘This goes so far that the children can be removed from their families if the need arises. However, there is no way the children will return to their old normal lives. They will not stay in Freudenberg either. This is excluded.
‘In any case, there will have to be a change of location. It is also possible that there will be a name change later. However, this will not be decided immediately.’
But comments on the online petition heavily outweighed Professor Hamme’s opinion – as a change to the law was demanded.
Desiree Engels said: ‘Justice must be given for them, a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old know exactly what is right and wrong. They can tell the difference very well.’
Monice Bremer said: ‘Murder is not a trivial offence, everyone had to reckon with consequences for their behaviour, what kind of monsters are they doing something so cruel, what will become of them when they are adults if there are no consequences.’
Luise’s body was found in a wooded area near the town of Freudenberg, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia on March 12
Because of their age neither of the killers can be tried under German law and officials have moved them and their families out of the area for their own safety
But a spokesman for the German Ministry of Justice told MailOnline it was very unlikely the law would be changed following the murder.
They said: ‘The violent death of a little girl is terrible news. It deeply saddens that apparently two little girls committed this heinous act.
‘Nevertheless, there are currently no plans to lower the existing age limit.’
They added: ‘The question is whether a child can survey his or her actions and their consequences in a given situation, and whether he or she can align his or her behaviour with this insight.
‘According to experts in psychology, educational science, criminology and, for some years now, neuroscience, children under the age of 14 have generally not yet reached the moral and intellectual maturity required for this.
‘Moreover, criminal punishment cannot be considered an appropriate response to the misbehaviour of such young children.
‘The principle of human dignity and the state’s responsibility for the upbringing and development of children are important in this regard.’