The court in the city of Dessau found that the 21-year-old defendants, named only as Sebastian F. and Xenia I., lured the 25-year-old architecture student to an empty apartment in May, 2016.

After trapping her in the flat, the pair repeatedly sexually assaulted the woman, leaving her with such severe injuries that they assumed she would die.

The court heard how the accused submitted their victim to a horrific ordeal that led to her death.

When the couple returned hours later and found the victim, identified in media reports as Li Yangjie, still alive, they carried the severely injured woman away and abandoned her in a lonely place.

After friends in Germany and China alerted the authorities that she was missing, police organised a search for the woman, who was from the eastern province of Henan. 

Her corpse was found two days later.

An autopsy found she had suffered blows to the head, torso and extremities.

Presiding judge, Uda Schmidt, called the case an "incomprehensible crime", handing down a 15-year sentence to Sebastian F. and a juvenile sentence of five years and six months to his partner at the time, who is the mother of three children.

The two defendants, who sat impassively as the verdict was read out, were also ordered to pay a total of 60,000 euros ($71,300) for the pain and suffering of the victim's parents, who were co-plaintiffs in the case.

After news of the murder spread, hundreds of Chinese students and local residents held a rally in Li's memory to demand justice.

The couple was arrested two weeks after the crime and went on trial last November.