Home Dutch News Life in jail for brutal Sittard double murder

Life in jail for brutal Sittard double murder

Published on 08/04/2004

8 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — Maastricht Court sentenced on Thursday a 31-year-old man to life in prison for a brutal double murder in Sittard on 12 July last year.
Defendant Olaf H. was found guilty of shooting and killing married couple Jo and Ine Zwakhalen, both aged 59, in their home. But the defence lawyer lodged an immediate appeal, news agency ANP reported.

The prosecution had demanded two weeks ago that H. should be sentenced to life, while the defence lawyer argued for his acquittal, claiming someone else murdered the couple while H. was hiding in the house.

The victims were shot in the head and Ine died at the scene, while her husband died a day later in hospital. Their nine-year-old granddaughter Audrey was also shot in the head and was admitted to hospital in a coma. She later recovered.

But the girl was unable to remember anything of the incident and thus could not give a suitable police statement. Her memory loss was blamed on brain damage resulting from her injury.

H. was at the Zwakhalen house on the day of the murder to buy a BMW, but has always denied he carried out the shootings. He surrendered to police soon after and his lawyer said at the time that a cold-blooded killer does not surrender to the police.

The prosecution said in court H. was in financial trouble and instead of paying the EUR 11,000 for his new car, he decided to shoot the victims.

The defence lawyer countered this and said the purchase receipt was found in the Zwakhalen office and the money has never been found, nor has the murder weapon.

But the court said the culprit could only have escaped through the front door of the victims’ house and witnesses only saw H. exit from the front. It therefore found it unlikely that someone else committed the murders.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news