A bitter war has broken out between the families of a Russian wife whose butchered body was found in a suitcase and the German husband accused of killing her.
Victim Ekaterina Baumann, 32, was drugged, strangled and cut into pieces by her husband Walter Baumann, say prosecutors in Bremerhaven, north-western Germany.
Now Ekaterina’s family have accused officials of keeping them away from the couple’s six-year-old daughter Viktoria, who has been put in state care.
They claim she has been banned from speaking Russian and is being pushed towards her German family.
Her Russian grandmother Svetlana Bolgova, 53, has even accused Baumann’s family of being in the family home on the night Ekaterina died.
Svetlana told Russian media she had managed to travel to Germany on 15th July, in time for her granddaughter’s birthday.
She said: “I made it in time for my granddaughter’s birthday, she had just turned six years old.
“But I was only allowed to meet with her after five days and only for an hour. Only an hour!
“I stayed in Germany for two weeks, but that was the only meeting we were allowed to have.”
She added that she was only able to hug her granddaughter in the presence of a child services worker and an interpreter.
Svetlana said: “Under close supervision, we talked a little, we drew.
“Before that, I signed a paper promising that I would not collect my granddaughter or tell her about her father.
“I did everything, but after that meeting I received a paper from the child services saying that we could not see each other anymore.”
Ekaterina’s family also tried to obtain the right to communicate with Viktoria via video, but they were reportedly denied this too.
They also offered to write her letters translated into German, but they said they were refused the shelter’s address.
Svetlana told Russian media: “My granddaughter is forbidden to speak Russian.
“They explain this by the fact that her father allegedly cursed at her in Russian, which means that this language can injure her.
“But this is not true, because Katya sang songs to her, read her fairy tales in her native language.
“Now the girl does not speak it at all, but she understands the speech, and answers in German.
“I was told that my granddaughter will now be sent to some kind of psychological centre, but it would be better to just connect her with her family.”
Svetlana also claimed that her son-in-law’s relatives are communicating with Viktoria despite not being allowed to do so, as they are under suspicion of involvement in Ekaterina’s killing.
She told Russian media: “The child services favour them, they arranged a meeting, although the police forbid it.
“There is already evidence that they were in the house on the night of the murder. It’s caught on camera.”
A German court will eventually decide who will get custody of young Viktoria.
Her tragic mother’s body parts were found stuffed in a suitcase on the banks of the Weser river in Bremerhaven in early March.
She had last been seen alive as she entered her home on 5th February.
Her husband – 43-year-old docker Baumann – has been charged with her murder.
Prosecutors believe he spiked Ekaterina’s drink with diazepam before strangling her while she was unconscious.
They say he then chopped her up and stuffed her body parts into the case.
Viktoria was at home on the night of her mother’s killing, say prosecutors.
Baumann had proposed to Ekaterina just one week after meeting her for the first time while on holiday in Turkey in 2009, when Ekaterina was a student.
They wed in Bremerhaven the following year. Their daughter Viktoria was born in 2017.
Friends said that after the birth: “Viktoria was his little princess, his wife was worth nothing to him anymore.”