22 Years after child’s death: suspected perpetrator in court

22 years after child's death: suspected perpetrator in court

It’s a terrible crime, but also a case like something out of a thriller: in 1998, eleven-year-old nicky verstappen is abducted from a camp in the brunssummerheide between aachen and maastricht, sexually abused and killed.

The police are in the dark for a long time, it looks like the murder will never be solved. But then, thanks to the latest technology, DNA traces from the body are suddenly assigned to a man who had already come into the focus of the investigators shortly after the murder. Since monday, this now 57-year-old jos B. In the dutch city of maastricht before court.

Interest in the trial is huge – it is one of the most sensational criminal cases in recent dutch history. But also in germany the murder of the boy had shaken many people.

The defendant broke his silence at the beginning of the trial on monday. Until now, he had only denied responsibility for the crime. Now the court was shown a video that he had recorded in advance in his cell. His testimony: he found nicky lifeless in a forest hut on the heath the day after the crime.



"He had died", he said. Because he had checked whether the boy was still breathing and whether you could still feel his pulse, he turned him over and thus touched him. When he realized that he was dead, he made a run for it. He had not been able to go to the police, because: "who would believe me?? I had a past." Already in 1985 he had been prosecuted but not convicted for sexually assaulting two young boys.

According to dutch media reports, a total of 27 DNA traces were found on nicky’s body, which were matched with the DNA of jos B. Matches – including those from the boy’s underpants. The defense, however, tries to invalidate this finding. There are no traces of sperm or blood, says lawyer. DNA from jos B. Could also have been found on the body in other ways. It is conceivable, for example, that the man – who often cycled around the heath that summer – went to the toilet in the campsite, dried his hands there and then nicky happened to come in next and used the towel.

Jos B. He was arrested two years ago in spain and extradited to the netherlands. Since then he has been in custody. Shortly after the crime, he had already become the focus of the investigators, because he was walking around in the middle of the night near the place where the body was found. Last year he returned there accompanied by the police: together with the judges, the prosecutors, defenders and nicky’s parents he took part in a crime scene inspection.

A complicated circumstantial trial is expected in maastricht in the next three weeks. The question is whether the judges will consider the DNA evidence sufficient to convict the defendant, contrary to his claims. According to experts, this is by far not as certain as it may seem to the layman. Legal psychologist peter van koppen told the newspaper "de volkskrant" that an alternative scenario for the death of the boy could not be ruled out. It is conceivable, for example, that B. Nicky together with another man had abused and the other man then took the boy and killed him. In that case B. Acquitted because the abuse was old-fashioned.

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