Werner Boost (1 Viewer)


Werner Boost

A.K.A.: "Doubles Killer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Robberies - Lover's-lane slayer of couples
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: 1953 - 1956
Date of arrest: June 6, 1956
Date of birth: May 6, 1928
Victims profile: Bernd Servé / Friedheim Behre, 26, and his girlfriend Thea Kümann / Fraulein Wissing, 20, and her companion, Peter Falkenberg
Method of murder: Shooting - Drowning - Poisoning (cyanide)
Location: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Status: Sentenced to life in prison in 1959

A child of post-war Germany, Werner Boost began stealing at age six, spending several years in a home for delinquents near Magdeburg.

Released for military service near the end of World War II, he had a fleeting taste of action prior to being captured by the British Cease-fire brought no change in Werner's attitude, and during 1951 he was incarcerated for stealing scrap metal from cemetery vaults. Behind the larcenous exterior lurked darker passions.

Boost acquired a friend, Franz Lohrbach, who would later tell police that Werner "hypnotized" him and compelled him to participate in heinous crimes against his will. In the beginning, they were merely chums who went out target shooting, graduating to the robbery of couples found in isolated trysting spots. Boost managed to concoct a drug, with which he rendered victims senseless, stealing from the men and raping their companions, "forcing" Lohrbach to participate.

One night, in early 1956, Boost and Lohrbach encountered one Dr. Serve, a Dusseldorf businessman, parked on the banks of the Rhine with a young male companion. Werner drew a gun and killed the doctor, ordering his sidekick to eliminate the boy, but Lohrbach panicked, merely knocking out the witness. Police had a description of their suspects by the time Boost struck again, shooting a young man to death and injecting his date with cyanide. Their bodies were discovered in the ashes of a straw pile, torched in an attempt to wipe out evidence. Boost chose another courting couple for his third attack, clubbing both unconscious in their car before he sank it in a nearby pond and watched them drown.

On June 6, 1956, a forester near Dusseldorf observed an armed man spying on a couple from the trees. He tackled the voyeur and held him for police, who soon identified the prisoner as Werner Boost. In custody, Boost stubbornly denied the lover's lane attacks and said he merely hoped to frighten off the latest couple, since public displays of affection made him "see red." Self-righteously, the killer rapist told his jailers, "These sex horrors are the curse of Germany." When news of Boost's arrest was published, Lohrbach voluntarily surrendered to authorities and launched into a marathon confession.

On the night of Dr. Serve's murder, he explained, Boost was experimenting with a plan to gas his victims, using toy balloons and cyanide. Ballistics tests revealed that Werner's pistol killed Serve, and old investigations were reopened in a series of murders around Helmstedt, in Lower Saxony, during 1945. Boost had been living in the area when several refugees were shot and killed, attempting to cross the border between Russian and British zones of occupation.

The case of Werner Boost dragged on for years, producing one of the longest indictments in German history. Upon conviction, Boost was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment, the maximum allowable in postwar German law.

Werner Boost

Victims : 5 (but probably more)

The illegitimate son of an East German peasant woman, Boost had entered the world of crime early; a child thief who later earned a dishonest pfennig guiding parties of East Germans safely, if illegally, over the border into the West. Only in the light of subsequent revelations were a number of unsolved homicides around the border area at the same time laid to Boost's account.

By 1950 Boost had transferred his crooked career to Dusseldorf, where he served a prison sentence for plundering metal fittings from graves. But if he was an indifferent thief, then Werner Boost was at least an accomplished marksman; by the end of the decade his deadly accuracy in firing 'Wild West' style, from the hip, would make headlines throughout both Germanies.

On 17 January 1953, a lawyer named Bernd Serve was sitting with a young male companion in his stationary car on a quiet road leading out of Dusseldorf. As they talked, two masked figures appeared out of the night, one bludgeoning the nineteen-year-old with the butt of his gun, the other shooting Dr Serve through the head. It was later remarked by ballistics experts that the bullet had taken an unusual trajectory, entering the body below the left jaw and leaving through the right temple, seemingly fired from below the victim as he sat in the driver's seat of the car.

The crime that was to earn Werner Boost the soubriquet, the 'Dusseldorf Doubles Killer', was discovered in November 1955. A twenty-six-year-old baker, Friedheim Behre, and his girlfriend Thea had been missing for four weeks when villagers from Kalkum, just beyond Dusseldorf, found two battered bodies trapped in their car in a water-filled gravel pit. Like Dr Serve and his friend, this couple had been robbed.

With no light yet illuminating either case, the second 'doubles murder' was committed on 7 February 1956. A twenty-year-old secretary and her companion, Peter Falkenberg, had been reported missing, and police found their extensively bloodstained car the following day. On the day after that, the 9th, two bodies later identified as the missing couple were found badly burnt in the smouldering remains of a haystack. Both victims had been bludgeoned, and Falkenberg had been shot through the head from the same odd angle that had been observed in the case of Dr Serve.

A further abortive attempt at a 'double murder' took place in May of the same year in some woods near Dusseldorf. Luckily for the potential victims the young woman alerted passersby with her screams for help and the two attackers fled. By plain coincidence, or perhaps divine irony, it was in this same wood at Meererbusch that a forest ranger on patrol saw and apprehended an armed man who appeared to be tracking a young couple. The man's name was Werner Boost.

Boost had surrendered to the ranger without a struggle because, he said, he had been committing no offence. He indignantly denied any part in the recent series of attacks and murders, and defied the police to prove otherwise. And they might have had a much more difficult job doing so if Boost's unwilling partner in crime, Franz Lorbach, had not made a statement in which he confessed his own part in the murders and implicated Werner Boost. Boost, he said, had 'hypnotised' him into complicity on pain of his life. He exposed the bizarre fantasy world into which Boost had dragged him - the drugs and poisons with which Boost dreamed he would find the perfect method of murder; Lorbach told police of one plan to float cyanide-filled balloons into prospective victims' cars. There was also a string of non-fatal rapes and assaults against courting couples who, for reasons best known to himself, Boost considered immoral and degenerate.

Werner Boost was eventually brought to trial in 1959, and sentenced to life imprisonment. For his contribution, Franz Lorbach was put away for six years.


MO: Lover's-lane slayer of couples.

DISPOSITION: Life sentence, 1959.

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