Ulrika Meinhof, an alleged urban guerrilla leader, hanged herself with a strip of towel in her prison cell on Sunday (9 May).
GV PAN EXT Prison building
GV Perimeter gate
GV EXT Prison building (3 shots)
GV/SV Perimeter fence (3 shots)
CU Security lights and devices
SV Police van arriving
CU Posters of Meinhof gang at news conference (2 shots)
SV Speakers sitting on rostrum
SV Journalists taking notes (3 shots)
SV/GV Speakers with journalists in conference room (2 shots)
Initials BB/2355 JB/PN/BB/0010
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Background: Ulrika Meinhof, an alleged urban guerrilla leader, hanged herself with a strip of towel in her prison cell on Sunday (9 May). West Germany put its police on special alert for fear of vengeance guerrilla attacks.
Frau Meinhof had been on trial for almost a year accused of involvement in bombings that killed five people in the late 1960's and early 1970's. It was alleged that she formed a terrorist group with Andreas Baader which called itself the Red Ary Faction.
Another member of the group, Holger Meins, died 18 months ago after a hunger strike in jail. West Berlin's chief judge was shot dead less than 24 hours later by gunmen claiming revenge. In April 1975, a group calling itself the 'Holger Meins Commando' blew up the West German Embassy in Stockholm after the Bonn government refused to release 26 alleged guerrillas, including Baader and Meinhof.
In Paris on Sunday, offices of two West German industrial companies were rocked by explosions and police said that there could have been a possible connection with Frau Meinhof's death. And a group calling itself the 'Holger Meins Anti-Imperialist Centre' claimed responsibility for a bomb which exploded outside a West German travel agency in Rome on Monday (10 May). There were no casualties on either occasion.
Officials in Stuttgart, where Frau Meinhof had been standing trial in a purpose-build annexa of the Stammheim jail, have said they will continue their investigations for a motive to her death.
Defence lawyers at her trial told journalists in Stuttgart on Sunday night that she had been emotionally and physically drained by her imprisonment. Since her arrest in June 1972 she often spent time in solitary confinement.