Tennis coach claims innocence in businessman's murder

Tennis coach Mark de J., suspected of murdering businessman Koen Everink, claims that he is innocent in a brief statement he gave the court in Utrecht during a pre-trial hearing on Monday, reports.

"My life has been upside down for 96 days already", De J. said. "Also those of my parents and girlfriend. The file is very misleading and factually incorrect. Every morning I wake up with the hope that the doors of my cell will open."

During the hearing the Public Prosecutor also revealed that De J.'s parents are suspected of aiding their son in hiding Everink's 42 thousand euro watch, which was found to be missing after the murder and formed a key part in the investigation. According to the prosecutor, De J. told his father about the watch after his arrest. It ended up with De J.'s sister, where the police eventually found it. De J.'s parents did not respond to a public call to return the watch.

The Prosecutor continued that the investigation into Everink's death is still ongoing and witnesses are still being questioned. The authorities also plan to make a reconstruction of De J.'s claim that he was kidnapped from Everink's home on the night of the businessman's murder. The Prosecutor finally wants De J. to be psychologically examined in the Pieter Baan Centrum.

De J.'s lawyer, Pieter Hoogendam, also had a chance to speak. He kept to De J.'s claim that he was abducted and added that Everink's watch was left in De J.'s car by his abductors. He stressed that no traces of De J. were found on the murder weapons. According to the lawyer, the authorities are not investigating all possible scenarios and the police are "on the wrong track" by thinking De J.'s gambling debt is motive for Everink's murder.

Hoogendam closed by saying that he doubts the objectivity of the magistrate and has little faith in the psychiatric report being prepared by behavioral experts.