The man at the centre of Germany’s mysterious crossbow killings has been described as a domineering figure who treated women ‘like slaves’ before he was found dead from a crossbow bolt to the heart at the weekend.
Torsten Weiss, 53, who was killed in an apartment in Passau on Sunday, appears to be one of the only links between the two women found dead alongside him – Kerstin Enders, 33, and Farina Caspari, 30 – and two more victims – Gertrud C, 35, and Carina U, 19 – who were found 400 miles away the following day.
While details around the case are scant – with police admitting everything other than the number of victims is ‘in doubt’ – a picture of Weiss has begun to emerge as a ‘master’ figure who isolated women from their families and sought to control them.
At the time of his death, Weiss was living with Kerstin in the village of Westerwald where the pair ran a medieval-themed shop which was filled with weapons, Knights Templar flags and had a blood-spattered mannequin on the counter.
Torsten Weiss, 53, had been running a medieval shop in his hometown selling swords, axes, knives, flags and clothing as well as mead
Kerstin Enders, 33 (left), and Farina Caspari, 30 (right), have been identified as two of the four female victims
A mannequin kept on the counter at Weiss’s shop
Little is known about Kerstin or how she met Weiss, but his links to two other victims – lesbian lovers Farina and Gertrud – are clearer. According to Bild, the trio met at a martial arts school, shortly before the women cut off contact with their families.
Weiss is said to have met Carina after she ran away from her family while still a minor, though the exact circumstances are unclear.
Carina is thought to have lived with Weiss, Farina and Gertrud in a rented farmhouse in Wieze, Lower Saxony, during 2017.
Alexander Krüger, 44, the man who rented the farmhouse to Weiss, described him as a ‘master’ who ordered the women about.
Speaking to Bild Kruger said that Weiss initially claimed to be a psychologist wanting to rent the farmhouse with his girlfriend, who he described as a business lawyer.
But after signing the lease the girlfriend never came back, Kruger said, and was instead replaced by a lesbian couple who where joined later by a much younger girl – believed to be Farina, Gertrud and Carina.
Kruger said: ‘His tone with them was strange. They were almost submissive, I had the impression that they are hardly allowed to talk to me.
‘His tone was so harsh. Strikingly harsh. Not the way you talk to anyone. It was in short imperative sentences.
‘Their reaction, the body language was submissive, holding their heads down. If I did not know better, I’d say they were really scared of him.
‘He was the great master. He gave orders.’
Undertakers carry a body bag from the house in Wittingen on Monday as police investigate the deaths of two other women possibly connected to the deaths of the trio in Passau
The guesthouse in Passau, Bavaria where the three were discovered on Saturday
German police have been left baffled by the macabre case since a trio of corpses was found Saturday in a hotel in the Bavarian town of Passau, followed by Monday’s discovery of two dead women across the country in the town of Wittingen.
Police investigating the initial triple death mystery said the two women were dressed in all black, one lying on a bed with the older bearded man who was covered in medieval alchemy tattoos.
Two of them, named by police only as Torsten Weiss, 53, and Kerstin Enders, 33, were found with bolts through their hearts lying hand-in-hand beside wills on a bed.
The third person Farina Caspari, 30, is believed to have shot the other two medieval combat enthusiasts before firing an arrow into her own neck in the Bavarian retreat.
Several hundred miles north at Caspari’s apartment in Wittingen, her 35-year-old partner – a teacher – was found dead with a 19-year-old woman on Monday, PNP reported.
Bild reported that the trio of victims in Bavaria had shared a fascination with the Middle Ages, including knights’ tournaments, jousting, medieval weaponry and alchemy.
Weiss had for the past five months owned a shop called ‘Milites Conductius’ that sold medieval-style swords, axes, knives, flags and clothing as well as mead, Bild said.
On display at his shop in Rhineland-Palatinate state was a bizarre female mannequin wearing suspenders, tied with ropes and chains, smeared with red paint and its head bandaged.
Bild said his shop also provided a space for sword-fighting lessons in the evenings. And tattooed on his arms were symbols of the medieval alchemists or natural philosophers, it said.
Swords and daggers on display at Torsten Weiss’s Milites Conductius shop in Hachenburg in the Rhineland-Palatinate state
An assortment of meads and beers for sale at the Milites Conductius shop posted on their Facebook page
The local prosecutor’s office said it was treating the case as a ‘requested killing and suicide’, suggesting Caspari first shot the couple and then herself.
Contrary to prior reports, police said on Tuesday no crossbows or arrows were found at the Wittingen crime scene, inside a timber-framed house, where Caspari’s partner and the 19-year-old were found.
Undertakers carry a body bag from the house in Wittengen
‘The modus operandi cannot be compared,’ said a police spokesperson.
A police spokesman told Focus the women had died ‘a few days ago.’
One neighbour in Wittingen told Merkur – like the women 400 miles south – the pair were, ‘Always dressed in black. So gothic-wise.’
The three killed by crossbow had checked into the riverside hotel Zur Triftsperre, close to the Austrian border, on a rainy Friday night.
They were on their way back from Austria, according to Bild, where at least one of the crossbows had been bought.
Caspari reportedly paid the £260 (300 euros) in advance for three nights without breakfast before they all disappeared into their room.
The three were carrying no luggage and returned to the carpark only later to collect the crossbow bags.
Three crossbows were found by police in the room, one still packed in its bag.
Weiss’s former landlord Alexander Kruger told RTL he always saw the older man with a ‘lesbian couple,’ adding: ‘They all wore black, had their eyebrows painted black.’
Police said three crossbows were found in the room where three bodies were discovered with bolts sticking out of them on Saturday
The guesthouse which stands near the Ilz river surrounded by trees in Passau, Bavaria, where two women and a man were found dead on Saturday
Kruger told the broadcaster he had noticed Weiss’s ‘harsh’ treatment of the women and had been prompted to call the police on one occasion.
But when he spoke with the police he explained to RTL: ‘The police gave me to understand that this person does not exist under the name.’
Kruger said he began noticing a man sneaking around his property and when confronted, he explained he was a private detective hired by the parents of one of the women with Weiss to locate her.
Undertakers load a coffin onto the back of an SUV in Wittingen on Monday
A police car stands in front of a building where the bodies of two women have been found at an apartment, in Wittlingen on Monday
The trio were discovered lying with fatal crossbow bolt wounds at the ‘pension’ room in Passau, Bavaria
Caspari was a bakery sales manager with a ‘passion for the Middle Ages community, the hustle and bustle of medieval markets with jugglers and knight tournaments,’ reported Merkur.
The trio were members of the International Jousting League, which re-enacts the medieval sport, according to Merkur.
German law tightly restricts firearms but archery equipment is freely available as sports equipment and anyone over 18 can purchase a high-powered crossbow.