The Devil's Angel (Part One)
Berlin, July 1999
On a seemingly quiet day in a Berlin police station in June 1999, officer Jan Müller got in one of the weirdest chases of his 30-year career. “I was having lunch when suddenly some kind of firework exploded, a few meters outside the window I was looking at. The windows were blurred so I couldn’t see who or what was causing the uproar. Naturally, we wanted to go after the people responsible.” Officer Müller and some colleagues rushed outside to see a kid standing a few feet outside of the police station. “I remember how he looked at us, arrogant, with no fear in his face.” Stumped by the behaviour of the kid, the agents approached him.
As soon as the officers closed in, the kid ran away, officer Müller remembers. “He was incredibly fast, especially for a kid of his size.” The kid, who the officers expected to be around 16-17 years old kept officer Müller and four other officers busy for approximately 5 hours. “Most chases never last so long, especially for something like us, but he was taunting us. It was like he wanted to be caught, but wanted to give us a hard time doing so.”
After a 5-hour chase, the kid was arrested. “We brought him into the station and he basically froze. His face didn’t change in expression, his mouth never truly opened to speak to any of us.” Officer Müller and his colleagues were trying to find out anything about the kid for hours upon hours until finally giving up when the clock struck 11 times. “We all wanted to give the kid a warning and warn his parents, but without a name or identity, we couldn’t do that.”
A breakthrough came in the early hours of the morning, they found out the name and address of the kid: Yael Engel. The same kid who would later be remembered as one of the Premier League’s most controversial and arguably most iconic cult heroes. This is part one of the documentary detailing the life and possible future of Yael Engel, better known as the Devil's Angel.
“We were shocked to find out he was only 13 years old and a bit later we realised nobody was looking for him. We called towards his home address a few times, but we had no luck.” officer Müller remembers. “We were at a point where we were fed up, we decided to take a drive to the address.” Officer Müller drove towards the boy’s home: “A colleague of mine recognized the address from old incidents, mostly drugs-related, which wasn’t extraordinary for that part of the city.”
The car pulled up to a building which looked abandoned. “I tried to ring the bell three or four times, no success. I tried to look into the window, but there wasn’t a lot to be seen. Suddenly I realized the door was cracked open, I walked into the house and looked around. No sign of life, but suddenly a violent smell of death sneaked up on me. I walked upstairs and a saw woman laying there, dead.” The woman officer Müller found, who turned out to be the mother of Yael and was according to the coroner dead for a few weeks. Shot in the back of the head, execution-style.
Upon further exploring, officer Müller found multiple threatening letters: “Most letters had a common message, pay up or else. No sender and always with the message made my cut-ups of magazines.” After exploring the rest of the house, Müller realized why the kid did what he did: “he was scared and wanted attention, for his mother and himself.”