Media tycoon De Mol's extortionist apologizes in court

The 70 year old Dirk Klaas M., who is suspected of blackmailing John de Mol and threatening Linda de Mol and her family, appeared at his first public hearing in front of the court in Utrecht today. The court ordered him held in custody as the case progresses.

M. tearfully apologized during his chance to speak, Volkskrant reports. "I am terribly sorry. In the first place for the family De Mol, but also for my wife, children and grandchild." he told the court. "It is all very, very bad. I wish that I could turn back, but I can not."

M.'s lawyer, Paul Emmelot,  asked that he be released from custody due to his fragile health. According to him M. is struggling psychologically. At present there are not any reports available about M.'s mental health, the investigation is still underway. "He is on his last legs. He has problems both physically and psychologically." Emmelot said, De Telegraaf reports.

The Public Prosecutor opposed the requested release. According to the prosecutor M. threatened and extorted the De Mol family for a whole year, and continued doing so even after all the media attention. "That tenacity causes us great concern. The chance of recurrence is great if he is released."

The judge decided to keep M. in custody, at least until May 19th when the next proforma hearing takes place. "The public interest takes precedence over your personal interest", the judge said. The substantive proceedings of the case will happen on June 18th.

M. has been in custody since his arrest on December 3rd last year. M. extorted the De Mol family fr some time by sending threatening letters. Last week it turned out that M. not only threatened the Linda de Mol's family members, but also her managers and friends. M. demanded 5 million euros from the De Mol family, but never received anything. He lived very close to Linda de Mol for years. His motives are still unclear.