Dendermonde victims laid to rest

2nd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The last two victims of the Dendermonde crèche murders were laid to rest on Saturday.

A funeral mass was held at the Saint Joseph Church in Dendermonde on Saturday morning for 54-year-old Marita Blindeman. A funeral service for eight month old baby Leon was held at Saint Egide Church, not far from where he was murdered in the Dendermonde district of Sint-Gillis.

During an otherwise intimate and sober service led by the Bishop of Ghent, Luc Van Looy, the Belgian Interior Minister Guido De Padt (Flemish liberal) gave Marita Blindeman the First Class Civil Medal for Courage and Self-Sacrifice.

King Albert II had posthumously awarded Blindeman the medal earlier this week.

Other politicians in attendance at the funeral included the Flemish Welfare Minister Veerle Heeren (Christian democrat), the Defence Minister Pieter De Crem (Christian democrat), Herman De Croo (Flemish liberal) and Tony Van Parys (Christian democrat).

Around 150 people followed the funeral mass from outside the church. They were briefly allowed inside the church so that they could pay their last respects.

There was also a big turnout for the funeral of 8-month old Leon. The family had requested that the press stay away from the service and the square in front of the church was cordoned off. The service is reported to have been a deeply personal and highly emotional affair.

The funeral of the other child murdered in last week's crèche stabbing, nine-month-old Korneel, took place on Friday  in Saint-Nicolas (East Flanders). The cremation took place in the presence of only the close family and friends. Upon the parents' wishes, the mayor of Sint-Niklaas had called on all those who were not invited to the funeral and cremation to stay away, including the media. AFP/ Expatica

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