A teen who murdered a neighbour's nine-year-old son and then stabbed to death an ex-school friend while on the run has been jailed for life, in a German court
A German court found Marcel Hesse guilty of the double murder Reuters file photo

A German teenager who murdered a neighbour's nine-year-old son and then stabbed to death an old school friend while on the run has been jailed for life.

Marcel Hesse, now 20, was found guilty of killing his young neighbour, named only as Jaden, and one of his own internet friends in the town of Herne, north-west Germany, last March.

The murders shocked the country and led to a nationwide hunt for Hesse after he sent photos of the bloody bodies of his victims to friends via WhatsApp and the dark net.

Prosecutors at the five-month trial in Bochum said the crimes were committed "to satisfy his sadism".

Homicide department chief said Hesse was "cold and very emotionless" when he confessed to the crimes.

The defendant lived with his parents. He was described as a loner and was rejected by the German army as being unstable.

In March 2017, Hesse lured the boy from his home by pretending to need help with a ladder. He stabbed the child 52 times and posted footage of the act on the dark net.

He went on the run and stayed with a former school friend, also in Herne, named only as Christopher W, 22, who had not heard about the killing. The pair played computer games, ate pizza and went to sleep.

When Christopher W later heard of the murder he confronted Hesse who stabbed him 68 times. Photos of his corpse were also uploaded to the dark net.

The killer also put up a series of messages that included images from Japanese anime and video games.

One message read: "To kill someone is just a series of movements. To produce the wound, to keep the victim from defending. To give the mortal blow and wait for the victim to be dazed."

Detectives said Hesse killed his second victim around 14 hours after the first murder.

Hesse stayed holed up at his friend's flat for another two days before setting fire to it. He then walked into a nearby Greek restaurant and told staff to call the police, where he was arrested without a struggle.

Defence lawyers had argued that he was not mature enough to be tried as an adult. Under German law that option is open to some defendants up to the age of 21.

But after hearing arguments from psychologists the court decided to try him as an adult. Hesse did not admit guilt and did not take the stand. He stayed silent throughout the trial.

Jaden's mother was in court, saying she wanted to "look his killer in the eye".

In Germany, a life sentence usually means serving a maximum term of 15 years.