Heerlen man, 66, gets prison on appeal for hiding mother's body, collecting her pension
A 66-year-old man from Heerlen was sentenced on appeal to 10 months in prison, five of which conditionally suspended, for hiding his mother's body in her home for nearly 2.5 years so that he could keep cashing her pension. The court in Den Bosch also ordered him to pay 15,500 euros in compensation to his mother's pension insurer, according to the ruling.
The court in Limburg previously sentenced the man to six months in prison and ordered him to pay 40 thousand euros in compensation.
As in the first ruling, the Court of Appeal believes that the man's mother died of natural causes at the age of 91 in July 2013. A few days after her death, her son wrapped her body in plastic and put her in a wardrobe he converted into a coffin. He then carefully sealed the box and placed it on a mattress in a separate room. He covered the smell with fragrances and opened the window only at night. The police found the body 2.5 years later, after a report from a concerned neighbor.
The son told the court that shortly before his mother died, they decided together that her death should remain secret. She received a state pension benefit and a survivor's pension, and by keeping her death secret, the son could keep receiving this money. He did not want to return to only living on welfare benefits, because then he would have to give up too many things, like his cars and his cats, he said. As a result, the man received around 72,800 euros in pension benefits in 2.5 years.
According to the court, the man's actions show "a great deal of disrespect for his mother's remains and the people who wanted to say goodbye to her". The man carefully planned out and wrote out everything, ranging from how he would hide the body, the stories he would tell his mother's friends, and how he would collect her benefits. He was convicted of embezzlement and benefits fraud.