The Dead Have No Lobby

The Electrician

  • elektriker 1
  • elektriker 2
  • elektriker 3

Documentary | 45 min | ARD | 2006
Written by: Sabine Rückert | Director: Manfred Uhlig | Camera: Christian Girardet
Cast: Jürgen Wink, Anna Bordskaja-Bomke

Janja Pillinger was 39 years old, full of life and apparently healthy. There was nothing to indicate imminent death. But when police find her dead in bed, they assume it is a routine case. What they don't know is that this young woman is the fourth wife of electrician Otto Pillinger to die at his side in the last 17 years.

It is only at this stage that the public prosecutor becomes alarmed and orders a post mortem to be conducted on the body. It was murder: the electrician literally executed his wife with a powerful electric current. And the fact that his three previous wives were killed in a similar fashion is highly suspicious. But when the case comes to court he can't be charged with the three earlier deaths - because in each case doctors certified that death was due to natural causes. Which meant there was no police investigation.

Is there any such thing as the perfect murder? The two-part documentary for the First German Television Channel “The Dead Have No Lobby” explores the question of how it is possible that people in Germany are murdered without anybody noticing. According to a study performed by the medical forensic expert Prof. Bernd Brinkmann in Münster, these cases number between 1200 and 2400; in other words, every other murder in Germany goes unsolved. The reason: overwork, lack of interest and shortage of funding on the part of the police and the public prosecutor: a postmortem examination where the cause of death is suspicious costs €500. A further reason is that in this country the general doctor issues a death certificate, and in most cases these doctors are not trained to spot indications of murder such as marks of strangulation or symptoms of poisoning.

The conclusions reached by the writer Manfred Uhlig and his team after more than a year's research are hardly comforting: serial murderers such as the geriatric nurse and the electrician could strike again at any time - without anybody realising it.