Expatica news

Police: mum killed 3 sons

1 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch police said on Tuesday the mother of three boys found dead in the town of Berghem over the weekend killed them on the night of 28 May. The woman later committed suicide by throwing herself in front of a train.

Police forensics and neighbourhood inquiries have also indicated that the mother, reportedly identified as Liesbeth, acted alone, newspaper De Telegraaf reported. The boys were stabbed and beaten.

Several farewell letters and the weapon used to stab the boys were found in the home. The letters indicated the woman wanted peace of mind and that she wanted her three boys to come with her. The letters were written peacefully, police said.

Oss Mayor H. Klitsie said evidently no one knew the woman was having mental health problems. Furthermore, the family wasn’t very well known to police, but officers had been called to the house three times since 2002.

Two of those incidents involved negotiations over the divorce procedure and once for a fire due to an overheated fridge. The divorce proceeded almost without problems, police said.

The bodies of the three boys, aged five, seven and eight, were found by their grandparents on Saturday morning in the family home. The 36-year-old mother was found dead on a nearby railway line. She was hit and killed by a freight train.

The grandparents had arrived at the Berghem house on the Pachthoeve in the town to celebrate the birthday of the nine-year-old boy. The father of the children — who was divorced from the mother and lived elsewhere in Berghem — is “terribly upset” by the deaths.

Shocked neighbours described the family as “very normal” and expressed incomprehension at the deaths. The father has a new girlfriend, but police had no indications of a possible conflict between the divorced parents.

Police initially suspected that the woman committed suicide, but after the discovery of the bodies of three boys — identified as Esli, Tygo and Dion — investigating officers resolved to keep all options open.  Police have since said the deaths were a murder-suicide.

Stunned residents of the central-eastern Dutch town Berghem had been awaiting the results of autopsies carried out by the Dutch Forensics Institute (NFI) on Monday on the bodies of three boys and their mother. Police did not immediately release the results of the autopsies.

A condolence register has been set up at the neighbourhood house De Berchplaets and by Sunday afternoon it had been signed 200 times. A regular flow of people was arriving at the community centre on Monday morning also.

Furthermore, the digital condolence register of the village (www.berghem.nl) had been signed about 900 times by 10am on Tuesday.

The website described the four deaths as “incomprehensible” and said everything else had temporarily lost its importance. “We don’t have any words for…” the town’s website said.

Despite the Pentecost long weekend, the St. Josephschool where the three boys attended was open all weekend to help pupils come to terms with the tragedy.

“It is important to talk about what has happened. Therefore we have opened the school,” director Maurice Gloudi said.

Many pupils and parents arrived at the school on Sunday to pay their final respects to the three murdered boys as a private ceremony was held in the morning. Pupils later wrote messages in chalk on the school playground.

The father, grandparents and neighbours have also been offered counselling by medical authority GGD and the Victims Assistance Bureau (Slachtofferhulp) in the local council offices.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news