Suspect claims dismembered woman's death was an accident

Police at the Zuider IJdijk in Amsterdam where a woman's torso was found in a suitcase, 19 Jan 2019
Police at the Zuider IJdijk in Amsterdam where a woman's torso was found in a suitcase, 19 Jan 2019. (Photo: Opsporing Verzocht)

Warning: The details of this case are gruesome and may not be suitable for sensitive readers

Bart B., a 56-year-old man suspected of the murder of his partner Miranda Zitman, claims that the woman's death was an accident. In a proforma hearing on Monday, he told the court that he found her dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home and then cut her body into pieces and hid the body parts, NU.nl reports.

Miranda Zitman, 52, went missing on January 20th of this year. In April B. went to a police station and told the police that he was behind her disappearance. Police officers searched the garden of the couple's home in Soest and found parts of Zitman's body in garbage bags. DNA testing also revealed that a torso found in a suitcase along the Zuider IJdijk in Amsterdam belonged to the victim. Her legs have not yet been found. B. told the police he put them in two hockey bags and dumped them into the water.

The Public Prosecution Service does not believe B.'s story of an accidental death. The Prosecutor believes B. killed Zitman, though whether he acted on a premeditated plan is still unclear. "The man made many different statements and invokes his right to remain silent on essential points", the Prosecutor said in court on Monday. "We still don't know what happened and can not explain it to the relatives."

The man's lawyer Rene van Stralen told the court that his client is cooperating in the investigation and denied that B.'s statements are not consistent. B. will be admitted to the Pieter Baan Center for observation around October. The next hearing in this case is scheduled for October 21st. 

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