An 18-year-old man on trial over the death of German-Turkish student Tugce Albayrak says he regrets his actions.

The defendant, identified only as Sanel M., told a regional court in Darmstadt on Friday that he slapped Albayrak in the face before she fell to the ground.

The 23-year-old died two weeks after the Nov. 15 altercation at a fast food restaurant in the city of Offenbach, prompting outrage in Germany and Turkey. Witnesses said Albayrak had earlier helped two young women who were being harassed by the defendant and another man.

M. is on trial before a juvenile court charged with bodily harm resulting in death.

German news agency dpa quoted him as saying: "I'm eternally sorry for what I have done." He said he never expected Albayrak's death.