A man has been detained by police in northern Germany after he tied a rope around a young woman’s neck and dragged her down the street behind his car. The small town of Hameln in Lower Saxony has been left in a state of shock after the crime, which occurred on Sunday evening. “The brutality and contempt with which this crime was carried out is horrifying. Everyone in the town is shocked,” said town spokesperson Thomas Wahmes. The exact motive for why the 38-year-old man tied a finger-thick length of rope around the woman's neck before tying her to the tow-bar of his car and dragging her 250 metres along asphalt and cobbled roads, remains unclear. “But we suspect that relationship problems were behind the crime,” said police spokesperson Jens Petersen. Police say that the woman was only freed from her torment when the rope came loose. “It is still unclear whether the rope broke or whether it came loose from the tow-bar,” said Petersen. The 28-year-old woman was found lying on the pavement by passersby, among them a police officer on his way into work. After receiving emergency care, the young woman was taken to hospital in Hanover by helicopter but remained in a coma on Monday morning, with doctors describing her condition as life threatening. The man, who is from the nearby town of Bad Münder, later handed himself into police and admitted to the crime. He did not however give a statement that would clear up the motive. Both the assailant and the victim are German citizens of Kurdish heritage and belong to two larger families. Fearing possible retribution, police have taken special precautions to protect the assailant’s family. As of Monday no such act of retribution had occurred. Now the town of Hameln is trying to come to terms with the brutal crime. “It is hard to believe that such an act of violence took place here, just a few streets away from the town hall,” said town spokesperson Wahmes.