Man charged with attempted murder of Newcastle United’s Mikel Merino
A man has now been charged with the attempted murder of Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino.
The charge relates back to 11 April 2016 when the Spain Under 21 star was only 19 years old.
He was on a coach with the rest of the Borussia Dortmund squad on their way to the stadium to play a home match against Monaco in the Champions League.
The accused has German-Russian dual nationality and has only been identified as ‘Sergei V’ during the legal proceedings so far.
In total, the German prosecutors have charged him with 28 counts of attempted murder, Mikel Merino and the other 27 people on the coach at the time.
The accused was charged on Thursday when he appeared in court of detonating three bombs with the intention of trying to kill those on the bus.
As it happens, investigators later found that the bombs had been placed too high above the road to do the kind of damage that prosecutors believe was intended.
In the event, the only player to be injured was Borussia Dortmund’s Marc Bartra who sustained a broken wrist.
The match was delayed by 24 hours and Dortmund fans invited visiting Monaco supporters into their homes.
The game was still a sell-out 65,849 and there were messages of support for the injured Bartra in the stands and on the shirts of his teammates.
The accused is said to have left letters at the scene trying to make it appear it was Islamist militants who were behind the attack.
However, the prosecutors later revealed that it was instead the 28 year old ‘Sergei V’.
It is alleged that he was purely motivated by money and not terrorist intentions. The individual said to have placed massive bets on the value of the club share price falling, as a reaction to what he hoped would look a terrorist attack on the club.
Statement by prosecutors:
“If several, or even all the Borussia Dortmund players had been badly injured or killed, and if the club had then no longer been able to play in national and international rounds, there would have been a significantly negative effect on the value of Borussia Dortmund’s shares.”
Whilst thankfully nobody was seriously injured, Mikel Merino and others who were on the coach, have all spoke about just how terrifying the incident was at the time.
When the match was played the next day (12 April 2016), Mikel Merino was an unused substitute as Dortmund lost 3-2 to Monaco.
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