A German woman has been sent to prison for a terrifying “killer clown” prank which left her victim with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The woman and an accomplice donned clown masks at the height of the disturbing craze last year and pounced on an unsuspecting mother just before midnight.
They rang the doorbell at the woman’s home, near Würzburg, Bavaria, and screamed at her when she answered the door.
Meanwhile a third accomplice was filming the incident, presumably hoping that the footage would go viral online, according to a report by the DPA news agency.
The incident terrified the victim, who had left her husband and three children sleeping upstairs.
The court heard that the shock of the clown attack left her with lasting mental health problems, recurring panic attacks, trouble sleeping and other symptoms of PTSD.
The women admitted that the attack had been stupid – and reportedly claimed they did it because they were bored.
One clown, an 18-year-old, was ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service as punishment.
The other clown, a 20-year-old, was given a harsher sentence, including time in a juvenile prison, because of previous offenses.
Clowns first began to be spotted in the United States last September, and the phenomenon rapidly spread to Europe.
Some criminals eventually got in on the act, putting on clown masks to carry out a robbery in Michigan.
The peak of clown madness came in late October, when a 16-year-old dressed as a clown got stabbed.
The boy – also in Germany – tried to terrorize a group of his friends, but ended up in hospital when one of them pulled out a knife and struck back.