Zeeland murder suspect terrorized apartment complex for years, locals say

Dutch police crime scene tape
Dutch police crime scene tapePhoto: Politie

A 56-year-old man arrested for the murder of a 78-year-old woman in an apartment building in the Zeeland village of Oostkapelle, terrorized the complex for years, according to other residents of the Parc Zonnehove complex. "We are so happy that he was caught. Hopefully the police will find sufficient evidence to ensure that he can be put in jail for years", one of the residents said to newspaper AD.

The man has been living in the apartment complex for around three years. Many of the other residents were scared of him, which is why most who spoke to AD asked the newspaper not to mention their names. Everyone knows him as the man with the split personality, resident Frans de Bruijn said. "One day he would be very nice to you, especially if you were nice to one of his two dogs. But one or two days later, he would swear at you for something futile."

"If Annie [the woman who was killed] swept her balcony and a leaf fell on his balcony, he would rant at her", another resident added. "Annie was one of the residents who dared to stand up to him, most wouldn't dare and were terribly afraid of him."

A delegation of residents reported the problems with the man multiple times to the municipality and to manager Ingrid Sinke from Middelburg, they said. "We have been to the mayor in various compositions with requests that something be done about it. He is responsible for order and safety in the municipality", De Bruijn said. "We also asked the manager, but nothing happened." They eventually went to a lawyer. "Our goal was to create a file. With that we eventually wanted to start a case against the man to have him evicted from the house. They are all owner-occupied apartments and we immediately realized that no one can be evicted just like that."

Since they started the file in December, 54 incidents have been added to it, De Bruijn said. This involved things like car- and bicycle tires being punctured in the closed parking cellar. "There are no cameras", he said. "We asked the manager and the municipality for it. But they were never placed. It is a closed cellar, who else would have done it? The tires that were punctured were on cars and bicycles of people who dared to stand up to the suspect. This man could not take that at all. He became angry and started to swear and threaten."

Mayor Rob van der Zwaag was unavailable to comment to the newspaper. Manager Sinker refused to respond.