Fmr. psychiatric prison patient escapes courtroom just before sentencing

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

Former psychiatric prison patient John van T. managed to slip away during his trial in Den Bosch on Monday morning. The 48-year-old man escaped from the courtroom just before the Public Prosecutor demanded that he again be sentenced to institutionalized psychiatric care. He is suspected of holding a couple hostage in a home in Budel on April 5th last year, and trying to extort them, NOS reports.

The Public Prosecutor demanded three years in prison and institutionalized psychiatric care against Van T. around noon. According to the Public Prosecutor, Van T. needs to be institutionalized "for the protection of society".

It seems that Van T. saw the demand coming, and decided not to await being taken into custody. According to Omroep Brabant, he left the court in Den Bosch with his girlfriend around 11:00 a.m. The man was released from custody last summer, to await his trial in freedom. 

"A security measure has been taken", the Public Prosecutor said to NOS. The victims Van T. is suspected of taking hostage was taken into protective custody, and the authorities are working on finding Van T. as quickly as possible. 

Van T. was previously convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison and institutionalized psychiatric treatment, according to RTL Nieuws. In 1997 he escaped from the Van Mesdag clinic in Groningen with German convict Stefan K. by crawling through the air-conditioning tubes. He was only caught again after he committed a robbery in Belgium. 

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