Els Borst murder: Psychiatrists ignored suspect's pleas for help

BartVanU
Bart van U. implicated in the January 2015 murder of his sister Lois in RotterdamBart van U. implicated in the January 2015 murder of his sister Lois in Rotterdam

The Hoekstra committee released its report on the events surrounding Bart van U., the mans suspected of murdering former minister Els Borst, on Thursday. The report contained damning conclusions about these events, saying that psychiatrists and authorities ignored Van U.'s pleas for help, NOS reports.

"On the day Els Borst was murdered, Van U. should have been in prison. And on the day that his sister was murdered, he should still have been in prison", reporter Gerrie Eichof said about the report. "If the police and judiciary had complied with the law, both these women would probably still be alive now."

According to the report, Van U. felt threatened for years. He had a gun license and always wore a bulletproof vest. In 2009 his firearm license was not renewed. When Van U. tried to do so in 2010, a reporter noted that Van U. was very disturbed and should never qualify for a license again.

Late in 2011 Van U. was held at a police station for carrying a gun and two knives. Justice decided that he should be examined by a psychiatrist and a psychologist. But in January 2012, the psychiatrist said that he can't say anything about Van U. because he refuses to cooperate. "It is absolutely clear that the accused absolutely can not be moved to cooperate in any behavioral examination." No DNA sample was taken from Van U.

In court Van U. said that he carried weapons because he feels threatened. The judge found him guilty of illegal firearm possession and sentenced him to 10 months in prison, 4 of which suspended. Van U. appealed. In September 2012 the court of appeals in The Hague gave him a much higher sentence - 3 years and said he should be taken into custody immediately. But Van U. was working at sea at the time. He also went in cassation against the judgment and  was allowed to wait for the process in freedom.

After his time at sea Van U. went to Norway to build a new life. The police were unsure whether Van U. could wait for the cassation in freedom and an officer therefore emailed the Advocate General, asking whether Van U. could be signalled internationally. The Advocate General never replied to these questions.

Van U. returned to the Netherlands in mid-2013. His sister Lois picked him up in Norway. At that time another sister tried to arrange admission to a mental health institution for him, but he refused to go. He therefore stayed with Lois.

Van U. eventually went to the prisons in Utrecht and Nieuwegein to try and serve his sentence, but did not end up in jail. Some time later he and one of his sisters went to the police station in Nieuwegein, but the police did not know about the prison sentence he still had to serve and advised him to look for a job. The police advised the sister to contact the Public Prosecutor to request the status of his case. The Prosecutor referred her to the Central Judicial Collection Agency, which in turn told her that Van U. had to download a form and fill it out to get an overview of the outstanding case. He downloaded the form but never submitted it.

In October 2013 Van U. was arrested at the Isreali Embassi in Brussels with two knives in his possession. The court admitted him to a psychiatric hospital in Brussels, from which he eventually escaped. He returned to his home in Rotterdam.

End January 2014 Van U showed up at a police station in Rotterdam. He told the police that he can't focus and has to be detained. He even said that he would commit crimes to be arrested if they do not do so immediately. The policed offered him a voluntary admission to an institution, but he refused. The acute mental health service examined him and found that he poses no danger to himself or others.

Just more than a week later, Els Borst was violently murdered in her home. Her body was found two days later. The next day Van U. ended up at the police station in Amersfoort. He lit fireworks in front of the property and was carrying two knives and wearing a bulletproof vest. The crisis team concluded that Van U. did not have to be detained.

In the following period Van U. had regular contact with the police. He was once checked because he was cycling while carrying a bicycle wheel and at another point he received a fine for a traffic offense. The police and judiciary saw no reason to arrest him.

On January 10th, 2015 Lois van U. was found stabbed to death in her home and the police launched a manhunt for Van U. He turned himself in and was arrested for the murder of his sister. A DNA sample was taken and it was discovered that his DNA matches DNA traces found in Els Borst's murder case.

After seeing this report, the Public Prosecutor apologized to Els Borst and Lois van U.'s families for he mistakes made in the events surrounding Bart van U.

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