A roadworker in Germany, Sven Messner has been sentenced to life behind bars after being found guilty of killing a six-year-old girl and disturbing the peace of the dead.
The paedophile who murdered the six-year-old girl, sexually abused her corpse before blowing the house up in an attempt to hide his sickening act.
The 34-year-old suspect, had invited the girl to a play date at his home in Baden-Baden, southern Germany, after she had become friends with his son Leon, also six, at a local park.
The sleepover was not planned but the two children reportedly begged their parents to be allowed to spend the night together.
The mother, who has not been named, was persuaded by the children to let the sleepover happen.
Victim Shaki’s mother reluctantly agreed to send her on the play date. It was the last time she would see her daughter alive, the court heard.
She gave her daughter a goodbye hug and a kiss: “I hugged her and told her that we’ll see each other again tomorrow.”
The court heard how Messner cut the six-year-old’s throat and stabbed her in the stomach between midnight and 3am.
Messner, who is separated from his son’s mother, then violated the young girl’s corpse sexually.
He tried to cover up his crime by turning on the Christmas tree lights and the gas in the oven.
The murder was carried out at Messner’s home on 19 December, 2021.
Firefighters showed up to a burning house, with Messner found unconscious in the garden. His son also survived the blaze.
Shaki’s mum said in the morning when Messner had not brought her daughter home as planned, she went to the house. She said she had collapsed completely – suffering blackouts when told by a neighbour on the way that there had been a fire and there was a pool of blood everywhere.
She only found out much later about the horrific way her daughter had died.
While in prison awaiting trial, Messner refused to be examined by a psychiatrist and has allegedly tried to take his own life several times.
The offender’s brother Mike Messner, aged 41, said: “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that little girl. I loved my brother, but now I hate him.
“The devil must have got into him.”
Shaki’s dad, named only as Suleymane K, 26, from Gambia, is quoted in local media as saying: “It’s hell.”
The grieving dad, who has reportedly lived in Germany for 13 years and works as a security guard, attended the trial.
Shaki’s mum was connected via video link so that she did not have to sit opposite Messner, according to reports.
Suleymane said during the trial: “I have to be there. I want to see my daughter’s killer. I’m trying to understand.”
He added: “I don’t know this man. I want to hear what he says about why he did this. This is important for me. But also very difficult.”
The defendant reportedly made no comment during the trial.