Saturday 24 August 2019

Polish driver shot in the head hours ahead of Berlin truck attack

Killer: Anis Amri drove the truck at market shoppers
Killer: Anis Amri drove the truck at market shoppers

James Rothwell

Polish truck driver Lukasz Urban was shot in the head hours before an attacker rammed Mr Urban's lorry into a Christmas market in Berlin, a post-mortem has found.

Last week, Mr Urban was hailed as a hero by the German authorities, who said he appeared to have seized the lorry's steering wheel from suspect Anis Amri and prevented further deaths.

But the examination has called into question whether Mr Urban (37) was physically capable of fighting off Amri, as he was unconscious and critically injured.

The attack on December 19, which was carried out on the orders of Isil, left 12 people dead, including Mr Urban, and injured dozens more.

According to the German newspaper 'Bild', a post-mortem found that Mr Urban was shot between 4.30pm and 5.30pm local time, which caused him to lose a large amount of blood.

As a result, doctors have ruled out the possibility that Mr Urban was still conscious when the attack took place.

Ariel Zurawski, Mr Urban's boss and his cousin, said he lost contact with the truck driver around 4pm.

The attack on the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz did not take place until 8pm, at which point Mr Urban would have been incapable of grasping a steering wheel, 'Bild' reported.

Mr Urban is believed to have been attacked by Amri after he parked his lorry at Freidrich-Krause-Ufer in the German capital, as he waited to unload a shipment of steel.

Last Friday, the Berlin state interior minister, Andreas Geisel, said Mr Urban had "quite probably" tried to disrupt the attack by seizing control of the steering wheel before being shot in the head after the truck veered to the left.

The vehicle came to a halt after driving for just 60 metres into the market, which extended more than 400 metres, averting further deaths.

This led to the start of a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than €160,000 for the family of Mr Urban. The campaign was started by British truck driver Dave Duncan a day after the assailant attacked Mr Urban and hijacked his truck.

Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister, said Mr Urban's teenage son and wife would receive a special pension, calling the driver "heroic". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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