Expatica news

Appeal court cuts sentence for Baarn murder

24 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Appeal Court in Arnhem has reduced the life sentence a 60-year-old man received last year for the infamous Baarn murder case to a term of 16 years.

The defendant, named only as Paul de R. from Nieuwegein, is to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment at the end of his jail term.

In October last year he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Utrecht for killing a married couple in Baarn five years ago.

Hans and Rita Muller’s remains were found in an improvised grave earlier this year on a children’s farm in Baarn. Paul de R. had run the farm for many years.

The Mullers went missing in 1999 and the defendant, a family friend, brazenly moved into their house shortly afterwards. He claimed they had asked him to.

He explained their absence by claiming they had joined a religious sect in Belgium and that he was the only person who still had occasional contact with them.
Concerned neighbours eventually alerted police, who refused to investigate the matter.

The neighbours then contacted investigative crime journalist Peter R. de Vries.
The journalist’s investigation revealed that despite years of ill health, the couple had not availed of their public medical insurance after their disappearance. 

De R. was also driving the new car that Hans Muller bought before his disappearance. The couple had not withdrawn money from their bank account but De R. had used their money illegally.
Their bodies were eventually found under a goat shed at De R.’s children’s farm after several days searching in January. The prosecution claimed all evidence pointed to De R.’s guilt and argued a life sentence would ensure greater public security. 

The defendant refused to cooperate with an psychiatric assessment in the Pieter Baan Centre (PBC) and experts there advised TBS psychiatric detention be imposed on him.

TBS inmates can be detained for life, but was apply for release every two years. Criminals sentenced to life imprisonment cannot avail of early release.

De R. was also the suspect in the disappearance of the 69-year-old Tina Akersloot of Haarlem in 1970. In that case, De R. also moved into her house but he never convicted of any crime in relation to the disappearance.

In the same period, De R. was sentenced to TBS detention for several thefts. But together with several co-detainees, he escaped from the Van Mesdag Clinic in Groningen. He was arrested two days later during a bank robbery.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news