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Germany's weather star arrested on rape charges

He is the Teutonic equivalent of Britain's Michael Fish and a household name in Germany.

But Jörg Kachelmann, a hugely popular television weatherman, has shocked millions of his viewers after being arrested on charges of brutally raping his long-standing girlfriend during an argument.

The news that the 51-year-old Swiss weatherman for the ARD channel was arrested on rape charges has produced banner headlines in Germany. Mr Kachelmann has since been languishing in a police cell. The news appeared to have caused such embarrassment to ARD that the station decided against broadcasting the story.

State prosecutors say the rape charges were pressed against Kachelmann following evidence submitted by his 37-year-old journalist girlfriend of more than a decade, who has been identified only as Sabine W. She reportedly went to the police immediately after the alleged incident. State prosecutors said the results of subsequent medical tests appeared to confirm the allegations.

The alleged rape was said to have taken place in late February at Sabine W's home. After an argument, Mr Kachelmann was said to have used violence to force her to have sex with him.

Her lawyer, Thomas Franz, fervently denied suggestions that Sabine W had pressed the charges in an attempt to extort money from her partner.

A woman acquaintance of the two told Germany's Bild newspaper she was completely shocked by the rape charges. "Sabine and Jörg always behaved very lovingly towards one another. He was always very accommodating, a real gentleman," the woman said. "I just don't understand what became of him."

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