Suspect in Breda man's fire death turns self in

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Arrest (Stock Photo: Politie). (Arrest (Stock Photo: Politie))

One of the three people suspected of tying Ger van Zundert up in a garage box in Breda on Monday night and then setting him on fire, turned himself in to the police on Tuesday. The 51-year-old man from Breda was arrested, the police said. The police are still looking for two other suspects.

Van Zundert died in hospital on Tuesday morning. Before his death he told the police that several men tied him up and set him on fire in the garage on Sparrenweg. The police believe that a business conflict is behind this attack. "We assume that he knew at least one of the perpetrators", a police spokesperson said to NU.nl on Tuesday.

Brabants Dagblad identifies the suspect as Janie H., a man with a criminal record. He previously served prison time for threatening to blow himself up with explosives in a residential area in 2017. According to newspaper AD, this incident happened on the premises of Van Zundert's car business, then located on Esserstraat in the Breda neighborhood of Princenhage. 

Danique Pals, a journalist that H. approached to write his biography in 2015, told Brabants Dagblad that she isn't surprised that H. came into contact with the police again, but she never expected him to do anything this brutal. "A nice man who always tries to come across nicely and correctly, despite his intellectual disability", is how the biography describes the man. "H. is a social man who always has friends and acquaintances around him. Someone with a lot of self-mockery and the ability to make other people laugh."

But there is also another, darker side to the man, Pals said to the newspaper, partly based on personal experiences. "He calls it a twist in his head. If he thinks there is injustice or powerlessness, he can get incredibly angry and emotional. At such a moment you really should not get into a fight with him. Then things can go wrong."

The fact that H. is suspected of involvement in the attack on Van Zundert does not surprise Pals very much. "But I was completely shocked by the way. Tying someone up and setting the on fire, who would come up with something like that?" she said to the newspaper. "If Janie is indeed responsible for this, I am shocked. I would never have thought that of him. Never!"

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