Expatica news

Wife of IBM boss in murder trial

6 January 2004

BRUSSELS – Gerlinde Lackner, wife of former IBM Europe boss Robert Van Hoeken, is to be sent for trial for the murder of her husband, a Nivelles correctional tribunal ruled Monday.

Lackner is accused of poisoning her husband in June 1995.  The body of 59-year old Van Hoeken was found in his car, which had been driven into a ditch off the E17 motorway at Deerlijk.

The autopsy revealed several bruises on Van Hoeken’s body, traces of the ingestion of a lethal substance, as well as haemorrhaging around the throat, indicating he had been strangled.

Van Hoeken’s Austrian-born wife claimed at the time that her husband left the family home in Waterloo en route to the Netherlands where he was due to participate in a golfing competition, before going to Paris where he lived during the week.

A golf bag was retrieved from the boot of Van Hoeken’s car, although no golf clubs were found and his wallet had been emptied.

Lackner soon confessed to having diluted a substance into her husband’s wine, and pulled her husband’s body down the stairs with the help of a rope, explaining the multiple bruising on the body. 

She admitted to have then driven to Deerlijk, put her husband into the driver’s seat and pushed the car into the ditch where she attempted to set it alight, and later hitch-hiked home to Waterloo.

Lackner later retracted her statement, saying her husband’s death had occurred following a moment of panic.  Her lawyer, Ms Hirsch, asked on 1 December last that her client be tried for involuntary manslaughter at a correctional tribunal.

Lackner will be tried for the murder of her husband before a high court.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news