Prosecutor: 15 years in prison for child's 1998 sexual assault, murder
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded a 15-year prison sentence and additional psychiatric institutionalization for criminal suspect Jos B., accused of the 1998 abduction, sexual assault and murder of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen. Prosecutors carefully laid out their closing argument in court on Thursday detailing their case how the boy wound up dead during his time at a summer camp in Brunssummerheide. The Defense will get their final say on Monday.
Prosecutor David Mattheijs said he has no doubt that Jos B. sexually abused and killed Nicky. "There is only one suspect and he is not only the suspect, but also the perpetrator," the prosecutor said, according to broadcaster NOS. He called B.'s statement of what happened - that he found Nicky's body and straightened his clothes and that was why his DNA was found on the boy - a "rehearsed play".
The OM painted a picture of a repeat offender who abused children during the 1980s, dowloaded pornographic images that depicted scenarios where children were abused, and who was likely the person identified by witnesses. One of the witnesses, an adult woman at the time of Verstappen's body was found, recognized the suspect as having been with Verstappen on that day. The other was a 15-year-old who said she saw Verstappen try to jump off of B.'s bicycle.
Other witnesses said they heard a child scream out for his mother a short distance away from where the bicycle was spotted. The Prosecutor does not know exactly what happened, but this is not necessary to prove B.'s guilt, he said. The suspect's DNA could not have ended up on the boy in an innocent way - his DNA was found in 21 places on Nicky's body and underwear. An expert in the criminal file said that this points to "prolonged and intensive" contact, was revealed previously in the trial.
Nicky's sexual abuse and death are inextricably linked, the prosecutor said - Nicky was sexually assaulted and therefore had to be killed. The OM assumes that this was done by the same perpetrator. Two pathologists who did an autopsy on the boy's body concluded that he was raped before his death. Nicky's pajama bottoms and underwear were also inside out when his body was found, indicating that he may have been redressed.
The cause of the boy's death has never been established with 100 percent certainty. A crime is assumed, because natural causes of death have been ruled out, Mattheijs explained in court. Nicky was a healthy 11-year-old boy with no genetic abnormalities. There was no question of dehydration or a snake bite, among other things. The OM believes Nicky's breathing was obstructed by smothering, strangling or pressure on his rib cage. This is all possible without leaving a trace, the OM said.
During the closing argument, the prosecution argued that when B. victimized other children in 1984 and 1985 he would cover up their nose and mouth. The prosecutor speculated that a similar action could have led to Verstappen's suffocation.
B. was arrested in Spain two years ago, 20 years after Nicky was found dead in the woods 1.4 kilometers away from the campsite where he was staying. B. was tracked down through a DNA kinship investigation, but had always remained silent about the case until last week when he said he found the body and checked to see if the child was breathing.
The Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting B. for abducting Nicky, sexually abusing the child, and then killing him. B. is facing charges of qualified manslaughter, the maximum sentence for which is life in prison, a sentence which is rarely given and mainly called for when multiple people have lost their lives. Should the court convict B. but decide not to sentence him to the psychiatric treatment, the prosecution said an 18-year sentence would be appropriate.