Expatica news

Disabled man, 71, arrested for killing armed robber

13 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — A 71-year-old disabled vehicle yard owner has been arrested for shooting and killing a man during an attempted armed robbery last month, but the businessman claims he acted in self-defence.

Cees Gardien, of Leidschendam, said via his lawyer on Monday that he would have been killed if he had not fired his weapon. But Gardien, the victim of three other robberies and nine burglaries, has been charged with manslaughter.

Defence lawyer Michaël Mantz is enraged that his client is still being detained, claiming that he had been surrounded by five dangerous criminals and had no alternative but to open fire. He said Gardien acted out of self defence and to protect his sick wife, Mien, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Diagnosed with throat cancer and almost permanently forced to use a wheelchair, Gardien — who has owned a vehicle yard for almost 50 years — was confronted on the morning of 15 December last year by five people clad in balaclavas and armed with knives and guns. 

Gardien has carried a gun since a robbery at his business in 2001 and claims he acted out of fear when he pulled the trigger last month. As the robbers made a dash for it, he escaped into his business premises and closed the burglar-proof roll shutters.

But the bullet is alleged to have hit illegal Turkish immigrant Yacup Yuruyucu — renowned for assaults, blackmail and threats — and he was found dead by a motorist later that morning. A knife was found next to his body.

Gardien claims he had been unaware that he’d fatally wounded the man and did not report the incident to police. He said he no longer trusted the police, did not want to be arrested and simply wanted to celebrate the festive season with his wife.

Police said they seized the murder weapon, an FN 7.65 calibre pistol, in the house of the accused about a week ago. Gardien remains in detention and faces a maximum jail term of 12 years.

But an acquaintance of the robbers has reportedly told detectives that the culprits have admitted that Gardien had not intended to kill anyone. The acquaintance also said the five robbers had intended to rob the man’s safe.

The Public Prosecution Office (OM) in The Hague has refused to comment. Investigations into the shooting continue.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news