Father-in-law confesses in Belgian lord's castle murder

The Belgian castle where Stijn Saelens was murdered (Picture: Twitter/@JanHenkVink). (The Belgian castle where Stijn Saelens was murdered (Picture: Twitter/@JanHenkVink))

Andre G. confessed to ordering the murder of his son-in-law Stijn Saelens in his Belgian castle in 2012 in the court in Bruges on Tuesday. Two Dutch men are suspected of actually committing the murder.

G. told the court that ordering the murder was the only way to save his grandchildren from Saelens, who he suspected was sexually abusing them, NOS reports. Saelens was about to emigrate to Australia with his wife and children. "The children were in danger", he told the court. "It was my ultimate solution."

The trial for the so-called Belgian castle murder started on Tuesday. It revolves around the murder of Belgian lord Stijn Saelens in January 2012. There are a total of four suspects, including two Dutch men. A third Dutch man was also a suspect, but he died before the trial could start.

On January 31st, 2012 Saelens' wife found a puddle of blood and a bullet hole at the front door of the castle, but found no trace of her husband. The Belgian police immediately launched a search. Two weeks later, Saelens' body was found buried in a forest near Maria-Aalter. 

Saelens' father-in-law Andre G. was soon considered the prime suspect. He did not have a good relationship with Saelens and this was aggravated by Saelens' plans to move his G.'s daughter and grandchildren to Australia. 

According to the Belgian judiciary, G. went to Pierre S. for help in getting rid of Saelens. S. was the one to actually organize the murder. Eindhoven man Ron van B. is seen as the gunman, but he died in May 2012. His cousin Franciscus L. is suspected of helping Van B. commit the murder. The second Dutch suspect is Evert de C. from Zeeland. He is suspected of recruiting the killers on behalf of S.