Borussia Dortmund bus bomber given 14-year jail term

Sergej W in court Credit: Bernd Thissen/Pool photo via AP

A German court has convicted a man on 28 counts of attempted murder over last year’s attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team’s bus.

The dpa news agency reported that the defendant, who has been identified only as Sergej W in line with German privacy rules, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Dortmund state court.

Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured when three explosions hit the team’s bus as it left a hotel in the western German city for a Champions League game on April 11 2017.

Prosecutors alleged that Sergej W took out a loan to place a bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares would drop in value, then bombed the bus and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism.

Dortmund is the only German football club whose shares are listed on the stock exchange.

Tuesday’s verdict ended an 11-month trial that featured evidence from players and then-coach Thomas Tuchel.

The blasts shattered a window of the bus and hit Bartra with shrapnel, leaving the team without the Spanish defender for about a month after he had to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his wrist.

The verdict fell short of prosecutors’ call for a life sentence.

However, defence lawyers had argued that Sergej W should be convicted only of setting off an explosion and given a much lower sentence.

In January, the defendant testified that he carried out the attack but did not intend to kill or hurt anyone.

The 29-year-old, a German citizen who came to the country from Russia at 13, told the court that he was trying to fake an attack and designed the explosives in such a way “that no harm to people could be expected”.

The suspect was arrested 10 days after the attack.