PARIS (Reuters) - German doctor Dieter Krombach, 76, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a French court on Saturday for unintentionally killing his teenage stepdaughter Kalinka Bamberski in Bavaria nearly three decades ago.
Krombach’s lawyers said at the end of the three-week trial that they would appeal the verdict, in a case that has divided French and German investigators.
In 1995, Krombach, a cardiologist, was found guilty of manslaughter by a French court in absentia while living in Bavaria. German investigators had cleared him.
In late 2009 the case was reopened after Krombach showed up, bound and gagged, at a police station in eastern France. French law allowed him to be retried before a judge in France.
The victim’s father, Andre Bamberski, who is French, faces kidnapping charges for Krombach’s abduction. He recognizes having arranged for him to be seized but denies paying any money to abductors.
Kalinka Bamberski died in 1982 aged 14 while on holiday with her mother. Prosecution counsel Pierre Kramer said Krombach raped the French teen-ager after drugging her, inadvertently causing her death when she suffocated in her sleep.
An initial autopsy report pointed to signs of injury to her genitals, but subsequent tests were rendered inconclusive.
The court in Paris said Saturday that Krombach was guilty of “wilful violence leading to death without intent.”
Andre Bamberski had waged a relentless campaign to bring the ageing suspect before a French court.
Krombach’s attorneys had said the French trial was illegal and argued the case should be heard by the European Court of Human Rights.
Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall