Van Themsche found guilty
11 October 2007, BRUSSELS, Oct 10, 2007 (AFP) - A right-wing extremist was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering a young girl and her African nanny last year in a case that shocked Belgium, the Belga news agency reported.
11 October 2007
BRUSSELS, Oct 10, 2007 (AFP) - A right-wing extremist was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering a young girl and her African nanny last year in a case that shocked Belgium, the Belga news agency reported.
Hans Van Themsche, 19, faces up to life imprisonment when his sentence was handed down on Thursday for murdering two-year-old Luna Drowart and 24-year-old Oulematou Niangadou and making an attempt on the life of a third woman.
A jury of 12 men and women in Antwerp decided that the murders were racially motivated under a 2003 hate-crimes law that has so far never been applied and which in theory can add two years to a sentence.
During the high-profile trial, Van Themsche's lawyers argued that he should be confined to a mental institution because he suffered from a form of autism that made him unable to control his acts.
From the start of the trial on October 1, Van Themsche apologised for the murders but also said during the dramatic hearing that he felt no emotion.
In May 2006, Van Themsche shot the Malian nanny in the streets of Antwerp's old town before turning his gun on her two-year-old Belgian charge when Luna, riding her tricycle, started crying.
He also attempted to murder a 47-year-old Turkish woman, Songul Kos, who was also shot and seriously injured as she sat on a bench nearby.
The rampage was only stopped when a policeman shot and wounded him.
[Copyright afp 2007]
Subject: Belgian news