Police informant's body chopped up, dumped in Brabant canal: report

Dutch police
A sign hanging in front of a Dutch police post. April 30, 2006Photo: M.M.Minderhoud via Michiel1972Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Freddy Janssen, a 51-year-old man whose body was found cut into pieces in a canal in Den Hout in 2016, was a criminal turned police informant, newspaper AD reports based on its own investigation. While his death is considered a suicide, sources within the Criminal Intelligence Team of the police fear that his relationship with the police resulted in him being killed, according to the newspaper.

AD identified Freddy Janssen from Valkenswaard as a police informant and the man whose body was found in the Noord-Brabant town in May 2016 based on a police report and conversations with Janssen's relatives and people from the underworld.

Late in May 2016, fishermen pulled a package of chicken wire out of the Markkanaal in Den Hout. They found human body parts wrapped in the chicken wire and called the police. A further search of the canal revealed four more chicken wire packages containing body parts. The victim was identified as Freddy Janssen, who disappeared on May 9th of that year. The cause of his death was identified as a bullet wound through his head. 

The police initially assumed Janssen was murdered. Jan B. from Hulten was arrested for the murder. B. runs a car dealership in Hulten, but is also known to supply weapons to the underworld, according to later convictions against him. The police searched B.'s dealership and found a box containing Janssen's bloody shoes as well as a box of bullets and the weapon with which he was killed - an antique Russian revolver, according to the newspaper.

During the trial against him, B. told the court that Janssen came to him to buy ammunition for his Russian revolver. The two of them went into the forest to test the weapon. B. fired three shots into the ground and handed the gun to Janssen. When B. looked away for a moment, Janssen put the barrel in his mouth and took his own life, B. told the court. 

Due to his criminal past, B. could not call the police, he said. He therefore went to "the people" Janssen referred him to and told them to get rid of the body, he said. He did not know that they disposed of the body in such a gruesome way, he said. The court of appeal believed B.'s version of events and acquitted him of disposing of Janssen's body in September this year.

AD now reports that Janssen was a criminal informant for the Team Criminal Intelligence (TCI), something that carries the death penalty in the criminal underworld. The TCI is the police's informants network. Informants pass information to so-called "runners" - specially trained investigators who must protect their sources. Every police unit has a TCI. Janssen was an informant for the National Police's TCI.

The Valkenswaard man worked with two runners, passing them information about ecstasy deals and arms trades in Valkenswaard, Tilburg and Breda, among other things, according to the newspaper. In 2016 the two runners started getting reservations about Janssen, worrying that he is becoming increasingly unreliable and that he would expose himself. They therefore started phasing out contact with him, in consultation with their supervisor. But without the first two runners knowing about it, two other runners resumed contact with Janssen. 

The two new runners continued to contact Janssen, sometimes in ways that raised questions within the TCI afterwards, according to the newspaper. They sent messages to Janssen's private phone, for example, which is considered dangerous as others may have access to the phone. Friends of Janssen found strange emails on his laptop. He sent emails to an unknown address with information about the underworld, including about Jan B. "In those emails he mentioned three locations where B. worked. In Hulten, Den Hout and just cross the Belgian border. The police raided exactly those locations after Freddy's body was found. That didn't seem like a coincidence", a friend said to AD. 

The sloppy communication with Janssen combined with the fact that he gave the police information about Jan B. - the man who was with him when he died - raised concerns within the TCI that the informant was murdered, according to AD. 

The National Police Unit would not confirm to AD that Freddy Janssen was a police informant. "The TCI works shielded because of the dangerous settings that comes with the work. That is the reason we do not address individual case studies", a spokesperson said to the newspaper. The spokesperson did say that two cases involving deaths were previously investigated. "This showed no culpable action by employees of the TCI." New information has come to light that prompted further investigated, she added, according to the newspaper.