Nihoul ‘as guilty as Dutroux’
26 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgian businessman Michel Nihoul ordered suspected child murderer Marc Dutroux to kidnap and hold prisoner young girls, lawyers for one of Dutroux’s victims have argued.
Lawyers for Laetitia Delhez, who was freed from a cell in one of Dutroux’s properties in 1996, on Tuesday argued at Dutroux’s trial in the Belgian city of Arlon that Nihoul and Dutroux worked together to kidnap girls.
Nihoul is standing trial beside Dutroux but has always denied having anything to do with the crimes the suspected child murderer stands accused of – kidnapping six young girls and murdering two of them.
Nihoul admits knowing Dutroux but says their relationship was linked to drug dealing.
He also says Dutroux sometimes repaired his car.
But according to Delhez’s lawyers, Jan Fermon and Georges-Henri Berthier, the Belgian businessman, was the brains behind Dutroux’s kidnaps.
The lawyer argued that the number of telephone conversations between Nihoul and Dutroux around the period when his client was kidnapped show the two men were working together.
He also pointed to a particular occasion when Delhez, by this time a prisoner at Dutroux’s house, heard her captor speaking on the telephone to Michel or Jean-Michel and saying “it worked.”
“Jean-Michel Nihoul is the only Jean-Michel known in this case,” Fermon told the jury adding that telephone records showed the two men had spoken at the time his client said she heard Dutroux make the comments.
The lawyers also say that at the time of the kidnap the two men discussed an exchange of drugs worth BEF 100,00 (approximately EUR 25,00).
“This sum corresponds to the price for kidnapping a girl,” said Fermon.
Delhez’s lawyers were summing up their arguments in the closing stages of the Dutroux trail.
Other lawyers will make their closing statements over the coming two weeks and the jury is expected to retire to debate its verdict on 14 June.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news