GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has shockingly dismissed the murder of Maria Ladenburger, daughter of European Commission adviser Clemens Ladenburger, as an "isolated incident" despite a recent surge in violent crime.
Speaking at the annual CDU party conference in Essen, Merkel called for “tougher sentencing” for people convicted of major crimes following several high-profile cases in recent weeks.
But she has come under intense criticism after Maria Ladenburger was ambushed, raped and drowned as she cycled home from a party in October.
Two Chinese students were attacked in separate incidents in the city of Bochum, prompting Merkel to defend Germany’s policy on allowing increasing numbers of migrants into the country.
She described the cases as “terrible isolated incidents”, Merkel argued there was no reason to suspect all refugees and claimed “the response of Germany’s rule of law” is enough to maintain order.
In an impassioned speech ahead of her plan to run for a fourth term as German Chancellor, Merkel said: “We have looked closely at the crime rate among refugees and the picture is varied.
“That is also the right answer: that you have to differentiate.
She added: “The fact that some people want to exploit that is something we have to withstand and defend ourselves against.”
Her speech comes after it was revealed migrants committed 1,576 sex crimes in Germany in 2015 alone.
While this figure may appear shocking, in the first half of 2016 alone the figure already stands at 1,683 and Merkel is under increasing pressure to take action.
On Monday she made a sensational U-turn and vowed to ban the burka “wherever that is legally possible” after right-wing populist party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), saw a surge in support in recent polls.
Migrant numbers in Germany have been rapidly increasing and more than one million asylum seekers were allowed the enter the country last year.
Germany could be set to see yet another migrant surge after rumours that the EU’s deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants is on the brink of collapse.