She was doing what most people her age would be doing on a Saturday night – having dinner with friends. But when 22-year-old student, Tugce Albayrak stepped in to help some distressed teenage girls she had no idea that decision would cost her her life.
But now, for the courage and bravery she showed in confronting the men, Tugce is now being hailed a hero across Europe.
For Tugce, it started as an evening like any other.
While eating with friends in a fast-food restaurant in Offenbach, Germany, Tugce saw a group of three men hassle two teenage girls. Tugce stepped in and told the men to leave. The situation was defused and the men left the restaurant.
But when Tugce finished her meal and left to go home, she was set upon and brutally beaten with a bat, allegedly by the men she had spoken to earlier.
Tugce was left with critical head injuries from which she would never recover. She slipped into a two-week coma but this week her parents made the decision to turn off her life support. Friday would have been her 23rd birthday.
News of Tugce’s actions spread across Germany. Friends and supporters flocked to the hospital where the young woman died on Friday, holding banners with messages of support for Tugce and her family.
On Thursday a silent protest was held in her honour outside the restaurant where she was attacked and there is now a petition in circulation calling for German President, Joachim Gauck, to posthumously award Tugce the national order of merit. So far more than 50,000 people have signed their name to it.
President Gauck sent his condolences to her family and expressed gratitude for her bravery. He has said that he would consider the petition.
“Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act,” he said.
“Where other people looked the other way, Tugce showed exemplary courage and moral fortitude.”
Tugce’s suspected attacker, 18 year-old Sanel M, has been charged with murder.
Police are also still looking for the two teenage girls that Tugce helped in the restaurant, both of whom are believed to be aged somewhere between 13 and 16.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend a rally today in Berlin to pay tribute to Tugce – all determined to ensure that this brave woman’s death is not in vain.