A German court has sentenced a 22-year-old man from Iraq to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of 14-year-old schoolgirl, Susanna, from the western city of Mainz.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, the judges in the Wiesbaden district court also stated the particular severity of guilt in the case, making early release after 15 years almost impossible for the man, named only as Ali B under German privacy laws.

The district court found Ali B guilty of raping and murdering Susanna more than a year ago in a forest near the Wiesbaden district of Erbenheim.

The body of the girl was found on June 6, 2018, in a hole in the ground near railroad tracks about two weeks after her disappearance, based on a tip-off to Police.

Shortly after Susanna’s death, Ali B and his family returned to Iraq, but he was caught a few days later in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and returned to Germany by federal Police.

The prosecution accused the Iraqi refugee of strangling Susanna to cover up the rape.

They said he acted in a cold-blooded, purposeful and malicious manner.

Ali B admitted to killing the 14-year-old girl at the start of the trial, but he denied the rape.

The defendant apologised to Susanna’s mother in his closing address to the court.

Ali B faces trial in another case for the rape of an 11-year-old girl.

This trial will not be held in public.