Life in prison demanded of suspected crime boss, Heineken kidnapper Willem Holleeder

Gavel with lady justice in the background
Gavel with lady justice in the backgroundPhoto: SergPoznanskiy/DepositPhotos

Prosecutors in the Willem Holleeder murder trial have demanded life imprisonment for the notorious defendant. Holleeder, an alleged organized crime mastermind, is accused of ordering or otherwise taking part in the murders of five different men, and also manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and running a criminal enterprise.

One prosecutor, Sabine Tammes, said Holleder was driven entirely by greed no matter what consequences befell his victims and their relations. "In the end, it was always about money," she said.

The prosecution said the evidence against Holleeder is "legal and convincing", and proves his role in the 2003 shooting deaths of Cor van Hout and Robert ter Haak, the 2004 murder of Willem Endstra, the killings of Kees Houtman and John Mieremet in 2005, and Thomas van der Bijl a year later.

"It is Holleeder who kept his distance, but made life and death decisions, and he thus behind a trail of misery", concluded prosecutor Lars Stempher on Friday at the heavily secured court in Amsterdam, according to

The defendant's attorneys will present their closing argument on Thursday.

Van Hout was Holleeder's classmate turned brother-in-law, married to the defendant's sister Sonja. The two men were key figures in the Freddy Heineken kidnapping, and served roughly a half-dozen years in custody. Police recovered all but eight million of the 35 million guilder ransom, or about 3.6 million euros.

Ter Haak was alongside van Hout when the assassination took place in 2003, and is considered the manslaughter victim. Similarly, David Denneboom was with his business partner, Endstra, when the latter was killed. Denneboom was injured in the murder, and is the victim named in the attempted manslaughter case.

Houtman was allegedly killed because he wanted Holleeder killed to put an end to Holleeder's alleged plot to extort him. Van der Bijl had intimate knowledge of the extortion plot, providing Holleeder with motive to kill, prosecutors said. Van der Bijl had apparently spoken with police about the case before he was he was shot dead.

Mieremet was shot and wounded in 2002 when leaving his attorney's office in Amsterdam. He was killed in Pattaya, Thailand three years later.

"All suspicions against Holleeder can be proven beyond any doubt, and that is why life imprisonment is appropriate," Tammes said.