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US-born dentist convicted of garroting her British husband

BERLIN (AP) — A German court has convicted an American-born dentist of strangling her British husband, whose body was found in a Czech wood with its teeth removed to hinder identification. The regional court in the southeastern city of Regensburg on Friday sentenced 61-year-old Cheryl von U., whose surname wasn't released for privacy reasons, to nine years for manslaughter.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for the woman, accusing her of trying to avoid paying a divorce settlement to her husband Peter von U. when she killed him in November 2018. The defendant operated a dental practice in Munich and had earlier sold two practices in Britain that specialized in treating children.

The 69-year-old man's body was found in a forest in the neighboring Czech Republic. The teeth had been removed to make it harder to identify him. The defendant told the court that she had found a garrote in their shared home near Regensburg and confronted her husband with it, whereupon a fatal struggle ensued. Her lawyers had sought to have her serve a maximum sentence of five years for manslaughter, according to the dpa news agency.

A court spokesman, Thomas Polnik, told The Associated Press that while judges dismissed the defendant's claim that she had acted in self-defense, they couldn't determine with certainty that she had been motivated by greed or carried out a surprise attack on the victim.

Under German law, either of those two aggravating factors could have justified a murder conviction. The verdict can be appealed.

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