Detainee denies man confessed to shooting

13th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A former co-detainee of the suspect in the brutal Sittard double murder case denied in the Maastricht Court on Tuesday that the defendant had confessed to him.

13 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — A former co-detainee of the suspect in the brutal Sittard double murder case denied in the Maastricht Court on Tuesday that the defendant had confessed to him.

A warden at Roermond jail has told police that the man, identified as M. P., said at the end of September that murder suspect Olaf H. had confessed to the shooting. But P. denied in the courtroom that H. said anything about the details of the case.

Jo and Ine Zwakhalen, both aged 59, were shot in the head at close range in their Sittard home on 12 July last year. Their nine-year-old granddaughter Audrey was also shot in the head and was admitted to the Maastricht Academic Hospital in a coma.

Audrey survived and eventually awoke from the coma, but the girl does not remember the shooting and therefore cannot give a statement to police. Her resulting brain injuries are blamed for the memory loss, news agency ANP reported.

Police claim that suspect Olaf H. came to buy a car from the Zwakhalen's second-hand BMW dealership in the city of Sittard last year and opened fire shortly after picking out a BMW 740i.

Locals discovered the woman's body a short time later in the garage. Her husband was rushed to hospital in critical condition, but died shortly after.

Police initially thought the suspect might flee permanently to Romania where he has friends and an international warrant was issued for his arrest. It is suspected that the man did in fact spend time in the Eastern European country after the murder.

Despite the fact that Audrey cannot give a witness statement, the prosecution believes it has enough evidence to convict the 30-year-old H. for the double murder.

The man eventually reported to police for questioning and denies he killed the aging couple. "You don't first murder two people in cold blood and shoot a nine-year-old girl before going voluntarily to the police," his defence lawyer said last year.

H. faces a life sentenced if found guilty and Audrey's mother and other family members attended the court hearing on Tuesday.

The man will be charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and the prosecutor will do a reconstruction of the crime at the end of this month. The trial will resume on 24 and 25 March.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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