Rapper who lost half his skull in drugs lab blast while cooking up ‘Nazi Gold’ narcotics


A rapper who lost nearly half his skull following a drugs lab blast while he cooked up a brew called ‘Nazi Gold’ faces five years in jail in Germany.

Accused Niko Brenner, known to hip-hop fans as Dr Knarf, was sent flying from a recording studio into the street when the mix of cannabis and butane gas exploded.

Grim photographs of his injuries show how surgeons had to remove a huge chunk from his skull to protect his massively swollen brain in 2017.

Now Brenner, 39, has been accused of causing an explosion and the possession and sale of drugs at a court in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia State, on January 18.

He told judges at Cologne Regional Court: ‘I take full responsibility.’

Niko Brenner (pictured), a rapper who lost nearly half his skull following a drugs lab blast while he cooked up a brew called 'Nazi Gold', faces five years in jail in Germany

Niko Brenner (pictured), a rapper who lost nearly half his skull following a drugs lab blast while he cooked up a brew called ‘Nazi Gold’, faces five years in jail in Germany

Brenner, known to hip-hop fans as Dr Knarf, was sent flying from a recording studio into the street when the mix of cannabis and butane gas exploded

Brenner, known to hip-hop fans as Dr Knarf, was sent flying from a recording studio into the street when the mix of cannabis and butane gas exploded

According to Germany news outlets, prosecutors say Brenner wanted to produce a cannabis concentrate known as a ‘dab’. Butane gas is said to have escaped and likely exploded due to a spark from a refrigerator at the lab in Cologne.

The explosion ‘blasted windows and parts of the masonry into the inner courtyard of the building’, the prosecutor said, and caused damage of around 15,000 euros.

The blast also injured both Brenner and a friend named in documents only as Esat B.

But Brenner, who has a son, said: ‘It was just me who produced the drugs. I was a serious addict and lived in my bubble. I did not worry about potential risks.

‘This accident made my world collapse. It was the biggest mistake I ever made.

‘I mainly suffered burns to my arms and head.

‘Liquid gas is like napalm. It keeps gnawing and just won’t stop.

‘However, I’m deeply sorry for all the pain I have inflicted on others.’

He added: ‘Because of what happened, my relationship came to an end and I did not see my son grow up.’

Brenner’s attorney Marco Heymann is hoping his frank confession and his serious injuries will influence the judges.

‘My client made a full and comprehensive confession. Not just his appearance is different. He has also changed on the inside,’ he argued.

‘He is just happy to be alive. Now he wants to focus on what the future holds for him.’

Grim photographs of his injuries show how surgeons had to remove a huge chunk from his skull to protect his massively swollen brain in 2017

Grim photographs of his injuries show how surgeons had to remove a huge chunk from his skull to protect his massively swollen brain in 2017

Now Brenner, 39, has been accused of causing an explosion and the possession and sale of drugs at a court in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia State

Now Brenner, 39, has been accused of causing an explosion and the possession and sale of drugs at a court in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia State

Prosecutors, however, have revealed that they plan to ask for a minimum jail sentence of five years.

They are also expected to argue that the drug’s name ‘Nazi Gold’ glorifies Germany’s fascist past, punishable by up to ten years in jail.

Brenner said: ‘I just wanted to cause a stir, that’s why I opted for a controversial name. My plan was to charge EUR 50 (£43) per gram.’

After the explosion, doctors put the rapper into an artificial coma for three months during which Brenner suffered four strokes.

Medical experts estimated his chances of survival as virtually zero.

Parts of his body are still paralysed despite 50 operations and he walks with a stick but often needs a wheelchair. Speaking in 2022, he said: ‘It hurts a lot that I will never be able to climb a tree with my son.

Brenner claimed at the time that doctors had told him it is theoretically possible to reconstruct his skull bone with an implant, ‘but the problem is that there is not enough scalp due to the burns to reinsert a skull bone replacement’. 

The musician said doctors initially tried to expand the skin by implanting a balloon filled with saline solution, but the device had to be removed after Brenner began suffering severe pain and inflammation.

Prosecutors have said that they plan to ask for a minimum jail sentence of five years for Brenner (seen before his injuries)

Prosecutors have said that they plan to ask for a minimum jail sentence of five years for Brenner (seen before his injuries) 

When he saw himself for the first time after parts of his skull were removed, Brenner said: ‘It was an absolute shock. I looked like a monster. My son was one year old at the time. I was terrified that he wouldn’t even recognise me.’

He said the worst thing after the accident was ‘not walking, not being able to move properly anymore. It saddens me not to be able to play the guitar, piano and keyboards anymore.’

A verdict in his trial is expected later this month.

The trial continues.



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