No corpse found: Court throws out murder conviction for lack of evidence

Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). (Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton))

On Wednesday the court in Leeuwarden acquitted 40-year-old Cafer G. on appeal. G. was perviously convicted for killing 45-year-old Michael de Vrieze from Burum in 2010. His body was never found. The Leeuwarden court ruled that there is not enough evidence to prove murder, ANP reports.

De Vrieze disappeared from his Groningen home in 2010. The police eventually concluded that he had been murdered there, according to the news wire. G. was also staying in the home at the time. And blood from the victim was later found in the home. 

In 2013 the court in Groningen convicted G. of manslaughter in De Vrieze's death. In addition to the victim's blood being found in the house, G. also withdrew money with De Vrieze's debit and credit card and drove in his car. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. G. always denied having anything to do with De Vrieze's disappearance.

The court in Leeuwarden now ruled that this is not enough evidence to conclusively prove that G. killed De Vrieze. The court points to findings by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), which state that very little blood was found in the home - no more than a quarter of a shot glass full. The researchers also said that it can not be concluded in which order events happened in the house and from which part of the body the blood came from. A crime is possible, the court ruled, but this can not unambiguously be determined by the blood traces found. 

The Public Prosecutor again demanded 12 years in prison against G. in this appeal case. The Prosecutor will decide whether to go into cassation within two weeks.

This appeal was scheduled to start in October last year. In the run-up to the hearing, further investigation by te NFI invalidated the Groningen court's ruling. G., who is of Turkish nationality, was allowed to await his appeal in freedom. The immigration service deported him to Turkey. G. was not present at the hearing two weeks ago. Neither was his lawyer, because he saw no chance of a fair trial. That accusation was rejected by the court on Wednesday.