Two young men race their cars for an adrenaline rush. Suddenly a car comes towards them – and there is a crash. A child dies. The verdict is milder than requested by the public prosecutor.

“Milly is dead” – this is how the judge in the Aachen district court begins his verdict. “Her life ended at the age of eight in August 2020 because two young men thought they had to drive a car race.”

The chamber sentenced the two 20 and 21-year-old defendants to youth imprisonment. The younger boy, who crashed into Milly’s family’s car, was sentenced to three years and nine months for involvement in a fatal race. The elder, who drove ahead, got three and a half years for one race and involuntary manslaughter.

“Affinity for driving fast”

It was a Monday in the 2020 summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia: the girl, her mother and her partner wanted to go on a trip to the Eifel. At the same time, the judge described, the two defendants met at a bakery for breakfast and decided to compete in a race. According to the verdict, both had “an affinity for driving fast” – this was evidenced by numerous chat and voice messages. “Now they wanted to test their driving skills on a winding road.”

No sooner said than done: “With the greatest possible acceleration” and at least 100 kilometers per hour, they raced in their cars on the country road through a forest area south of Aachen. It happened when overtaking a slower small car in a long left-hand bend: While the 21-year-old was able to cut back just in front of the car, the 20-year-old driving behind him rammed an oncoming car head-on. Milly, who was inside, suffered fatal injuries. Her mother as a passenger, her partner and the 20-year-old speeder were seriously injured.

The risk of an accident in the curve that was not visible was completely obvious, said the judge. But the accused would have accepted this danger “in order to be able to continue their race unhindered”.

Sentence lower than requested by prosecutors

The young men accepted their verdict without any outward emotion. The 20-year-old had apologized in tears on an earlier day of the hearing and asserted that he had not deliberately provoked the accident. The 21-year-old had not commented on the allegations.

The sentence is less than what the prosecutor’s office demanded. She had pleaded for a five-year juvenile sentence for a race that resulted in death. The young men in the case were originally charged with murder and attempted murder. In the end, however, neither the public prosecutor’s office nor the court were able to identify intent to kill.