Man confesses to killing three dog walkers in Dutch parks

Thijs H. suspected in three fatal stabbings in The Hague and Heerlen
Thijs H. suspected in three fatal stabbings, including one in The Hague and two in Heerlen. Undated. (photo: Politie)

Thijs H. confessed to stabbing and killing three people while they were walking their dogs in parks in The Hague and Heerlen in May, was revealed during the first pro-forma hearing against the 27-year-old man in the court in Limburg on Friday, NU.nl reports.

H. is being prosecuted for killing a 56-year-old woman in Scheveningen, The Hague on May 4th and killing a 63-year-old woman and 68-year-old man on Brunssummerheide in Heerlen on May 7th. Passersby found the bodies.

On the evening of May 7th, after the two people were killed in Heerlen, H. showed up at the Mondriaan psychiatric clinic in Maastricht, where he had previously been treated. His hands and clothes were covered in blood, according to the newspaper. He left the clinic by himself later that evening, only to be brought back by his parents. The clinic called the police after H. disappeared again the next morning. He was arrested later that evening.

An interim ruling by the court regarding camera footage of the clinic showed that H. himself and his clothing were washed before an investigation could take place, according to the newspaper.  

There is "abundant" DNA evidence against H., the Prosecutor said during the hearing, according to two AD reporters tweeting live from the courtroom. Various knives were found in his home, and DNA was found on one of them that matched the profile of the 56-year-old woman killed in The Hague. Several witnesses saw him around the crime scenes. The man also searched the internet for information regarding psychosis. One of his search terms was: 'Why do good people do evil things'. 

H. first said that he doesn't remember anything from the days of the murders. He said that he wanted the perpetrator to be found, because he couldn't imagine that he did it. Later it turned out that he does remember what happened. He said that he received orders to kill through license plates and news reports. After the first killing, his courage gave out. But the messages said that he had to kill two people, so he went to Heerlen. He also used a lot of drugs. "I'm terribly sorry", H. said in the hearing, adding that he knows it won't take the relatives' pain away. 

H.'s lawyer called for nuance in the investigation. According to the lawyer, things in H.'s head told him to lie during questioning. 

H. will be admitted to the Pieter Baan Center for psychiatric examination later this month. The next pro-forma hearing in this case is scheduled for November 4th. H. will remain in custody until then. 

This story will be updated as the Friday courtroom session continues.

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