Self-pitying Hussein Khavari was linked to the murder of Maria Ladenburger through his DNA but remained silent after his arrest last year.
On Monday that changed as he wept In the Freiburg District Court and recalled how he smoked hashish the night he ambushed 19-year-old Maria, raped her and drowned her in the knee-deep water of a nearby river.
He said the night of the killing he was so drunk he was ejected from a bar and left alone by his friends in town.
He claims he accidentally came across Maria who shouted out as she fell from her bicycle.
He said he pressed her mouth shut then choked her with a scarf and put her unconscious into the water.
Khavari said: “When I saw how pretty she was, I wanted to have sex with her.”
But he claims he was too drunk.
He broke down in court and added: “I want to apologise to the family of Maria.”
Reading from a statement he went on: “I beg your pardon. I want to apologise to the family of Maria. I wish I could undo it.
“What I have done, I am sad for from the bottom of my heart.”
Wiping tears from his face, he added: “I live with the agony of what I did and this torment destroys my life.”
He claimed he dragged her into the river “because I wanted to wash her blood from me.”
Prosecutors dispute his account of the murder and say he planned it beforehand.
Hussain, who was 19 at the time of the killing in October last year, ended a life rich in potential and polarised a nation struggling to adapt to over a million refugees.
It was learned after his arrest that he had been arrested and sentenced to 10 years for attempted murder in Corfu in 2013 before coming to Germany seeking refuge in 2015. It remains unclear why Greece let him out of jail so quickly.
German authorities knew nothing of his past and so let him into the country as a registered asylum seeker.
His victim, whose father is a senior legal adviser to the European Commission in Brussels, worked in her spare time in the ancient university city of Freiburg helping out migrants in various shelters and homes.
The killing sparked frenzied new anger at refugees. Even the leader of the country’s police union said her death would have been prevented had the open door asylum-seeker policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel been less lax than it is.
The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was to piggyback on the killer’s arrest to highlight what it says are the dangers of unregulated immigration. It called Maria a “victim of Merkel’s welcome culture”.
Khavari was born in Ghazni in Afghanistan and came to Germany as an illegal unaccompanied minor in November 2015.
In numerous posts on the internet he liked to present himself in the guise of a gangsta rapper: hair slicked back with gel, jogging pants and training shoes.
On Facebook, before the killing of Maria on October 16, he wore his hair long but it was cut back after the crime.
A single strand of it was found at the crime scene but he left other traces of his DNA behind on a scarf.
Another disturbing photo he posted on his Facebook page in June shows a wolfman clutching a young maiden in his arms.
Maria’s body was found in the Dreisam River less than one mile from the student accommodation where she lived. Khavari stayed free for seven weeks before police arrested him.
The case continues.