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Magnus Gäfgen

Magnus Gäfgen

German child murderer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German child murderer
A.K.A. Magnus Gäfgen
Countries Germany
Occupations Murderer Criminal
Gender male
Birth 11 April 1975 (Frankfurt am Main)
Star sign Aries
The details

Thomas David Lukas Olsen (né Magnus Gäfgen; born 11 April 1975 in Frankfurt am Main) is a German child murderer. In 2002, he was arrested for the murder of 11-year-old Jakob von Metzler, the son of a well-known Frankfurt banker (see Metzler Bank). The following year, Gäfgen was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The case drew some controversy over the fact that Gäfgen was threatened with torture during his interrogation by the police in order to save his victims life.

In January 2015, it became known that he had changed his name from Magnus Gäfgen to Thomas David Lukas Olsen, reportedly inspired by the fictional Danish/Norwegian criminal Egon Olsen.


The Oberschweinstiege tram station in Frankfurt City Forest, where the transfer of the ransom money for kidnapped boy Jakob von Metzler took place

Gäfgen has a modest family background, but went on to study law at the Goethe University in 1996. On 27 September 2002 he kidnapped Jakob von Metzler in order to blackmail his parents, but killed him in his apartment. Gäfgen then demanded one million euro in ransom from the Metzler family. He was observed by the police when he picked up the ransom. After a few hours, during which he had booked a holiday and not released his victim, who was already dead, he was arrested. After being threatened with torture, as ordered by Frankfurt Police Vice President Wolfgang Daschner, he confessed and told where the body was hidden.

In his conviction for murder to life imprisonment in July 2003, the court established his grave level of guilt (besondere Schwere der Schuld). As a consequence, he is not eligible for early release after 15 years, as is otherwise usual for life prisoners. His appeal to the Federal Court of Justice was rejected in May 2004. His complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court was rejected in December 2004. In 2005, he filed a complaint against Germany at the European Court of Human Rights (case no. 22978/05, Gäfgen v. Germany) which he partially won in 2010: Germany was convicted for violation of article 3 ECHR (Prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment), but was acquitted for violation of article 6 (Right to a fair trial). Additionally, he sued the state of Hesse and demanded compensation for allegedly suffering trauma after being threatened with torture, however, he lost the case.

Life in Prison

Magnus Gäfgen is serving his life sentence in Schwalmstadt Prison in the state of Hesse. He got his law degree while in prison, and published the autobiography Allein mit Gott – Der Weg zurück (Alone with God – The way back) in 2005. His plans to establish a "Gäfgen Foundation" that should help children who had been victims of crime sparked controversy, and after authorities stated they would never allow such a foundation to be registered, he dropped the plans.

In August 2011 Magnus Gäfgen was awarded €3,000 damages for the police threat to torture him. Gäfgen originally wanted €10,000.

His liquidator tried to seize the money.


  • Adrienne Lochte: Sie werden dich nicht finden. Der Fall Jakob von Metzler. Droemer/Knaur 2004, ISBN 3-426-27345-4
  • Magnus Gäfgen: Allein mit Gott – Der Weg zurück. Bendorf: Atlantic-Millenium-Press 2005, ISBN 3-00-017114-2
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