‘King of escape’ faces justice over shooting of police
13 September 2005
BRUSSELS – One of Belgium’s most violent criminals, who earned the nickname ‘King of escape’ for his three jailbreaks, is denying shooting two police officers when he was last on the run.
Nordin Benallal, who the Belgian press dub ‘public enemy number one’, is serving a 27-year jail sentence for a series of violent crimes including car-jackings, hold-ups and armed robberies.
However, he has managed to escape Nivelles prison three times in the last few years, once by swapping clothes with his younger brother who visited him in jail and by faking a leg injury the second time.
The third time, last August, he scaled a security perimeter with the help of an accomplice at the other side who threw him a rope attached to a car.
On Tuesday, a Brussels court started to hear evidence into a shooting which occurred on the night of 12 August when police officers tried to recapture Benallal.
The prosecution says Benallal shot one officer in the leg and a second in the abdomen during a chase.
Seven other suspects are also on trial for planning or committing crimes with the escaped convict.
The officers say they tried to carry out a routine check on an Opel Corsa at around 3.50am on 12 August.
The two men in the car drove off, pursued by the officers, and stopped after about 300m to change places in the car. The new driver, believed to be Benallal, sped away to Molenbeek to Quatre-Vents where he and his accomplice, Redouan Namji, got out of the car and ran off.
When the police called them to stop, both officers say the shortest man fired at them.
Benallal is 1.65m tall while Namji is 1.76m tall.
Benallal, though, blames co-defendant Namji for the shootings and Namji says it was Benallal.
When Benallal was arrested three days later in the back of a car in Rogier tunnel, a gun was found which ballistics experts believe was the same one used to shoot the officers, but Benallal insists he didn’t own or use the gun.
Benallal also faces charges of stealing two vans, one of which was to be used to help another prisoner break out of jail.
Along with other defendants, he is also accused of possession of dynamite which investigators believe was to be used to explode a cash machine.
The trial continues.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news