Expatica news

Lusanne kidnapper jailed for 5 years

11 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — The man who kidnapped 11-year-old Lusannne van der Gunn as she cycled to school was sentenced in Leeuwarden Court on Thursday to five years in jail.

The culprit, identified as 64-year-old Simon S., was also ordered to pay EUR 5,000 in compensation to Lusanne and EUR 1,000 to her parents, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Lusanne is being treated by a child psychologist and her parents fear she might suffer unpredictable traumatic consequences as a result of her abduction last year. She no longer dares to go to bed alone at night and suffers from nightmares.

S. admitted in court last month that he did not exactly know why he chose to abduct Lusanne. He is also a father of a daughter and said he understood that the abduction of a child is one of the worst things someone can do to a parent.

The prosecution demanded an eight-year jail term.

Lusanne was abducted on 25 August last year as she rode to school with a girlfriend in the Friesian village of Oldeberkoop. S. pretended to be a traffic crossing guard and bundled Lusanne into his car as her friend continued onto school and raised the alarm.

After crisscrossing the country — most of the time blindfolded and confined to the trunk of a car — Lusanne was released two days later in the eastern Dutch city of Venlo. The case attracted intense media publicity.

The accused had tried in vain to obtain EUR 200,000 in ransom from Lusanne’s family, mistakenly thinking they were wealthy. The Van der Gunn family owns a cheese farm in Oldeberkoop.

The schoolgirl was unhurt during her ordeal and S. was arrested in his hometown Rypsterk on 5 September after a witness saw the girl in his car and wrote down the number plate. S. immediately confessed the crime.

Psychiatric experts with the Pieter Baan Centrum said S. had diminished accountability at the time of kidnapping. They also said he did not have a criminal record and the danger that he might commit a repeat offence was small.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news