October 19, 2018 / 11:37 AM / a month ago

Man says he attacked Bulgarian TV host who was murdered

SOFIA (Reuters) - A Bulgarian man said on Friday he attacked Viktoria Marinova, a television journalist whose murder drew international condemnation partly because it initially appeared that it could have been politically motivated.

Police stand guard next to Severin Krasimirov, 21, who was arrested in Germany over the killing of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova, during his first appearance in court in Ruse, Bulgaria, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Severin Krasimirov, 21, is charged with rape and murder with extreme cruelty in the case of Marinova and on Friday he was remanded in custody.

Bulgarian National Radio reported that he spoke to reporters as he was brought to a district court in the northern city of Ruse on the Danube.

“I do not know what happened. I cannot remember everything. I went there and I slapped her, she fell. I want to move on but she grabbed me,” Krasimirov told reporters in the hallway of the court building.

“Yes, I am guilty, I am very sorry. I cannot believe that I have done that,” Krasimirov said in a wavering voice, when reporters asked whether he plans to tell the court he is guilty.

A prosecutor later told Reuters he was not asked to plead at the hearing. If convicted he faces life without parole.

Marinova, 30, hosted a current affairs show at a regional television channel in Ruse. Her body was found in a park on the Danube on Oct. 6. Police said she was beaten, raped and died of suffocation.

Prosecutors say there was no evidence her death was related to her work and pointed to a random sexual crime, though they said they are investigating all possibilities.

Investigators say DNA found on the victim matches Krasimirov. They have also collected additional evidence against him, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said on Friday.

Krasimirov was extradited from Germany on Wednesday. He has told a German court he hit a woman he did not know but did not intend to kill her. German officials have said that based on his statement there was no political motive for the murder.

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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