Man (50) sentenced to 18 years for murder of son in house fire, fraud
A 50-year-old man who deliberately set fire to his home in Assendelft while his partner and children were asleep in November 2020, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday. The Noord-Holland court convicted the man, known as Martijn den B., for the murder of his 14-year-old son and attempted murder of his other family members.
His sentence also included a conviction for years of embezzling money from his employer, according to De Rechtspraak and the court verdict. The 18-year sentence is lower than originally expected, since the Public Prosecution Service (OM) had previously demanded a prison term of 24 years.
Both parents and three children were injured in the fire, which occurred in the village of Zomerzon in the early hours of Nov. 2, 2020. The youngest son died a few days later from his injuries.
It was concluded that Martijn den B. acted out of desperation after his employer suspended him following the discovery that he had been committing fraud on Oct. 23, 2020. For six and a half years, he had embezzled a total of 2.4 million euros from his boss to fuel a luxurious lifestyle and online gaming.
During that time, Den B. had managed to hide his illegal activity both from his employer and his family. However, his employer had his bank accounts, home and his partner’s hair salon seized after the discovery was made. His employer also demanded that he return his company car on Nov. 2, 2020.
After suffering from suicidal thoughts since he had been found out, the suspect decided to set fire to his home with jerry cans of petrol he had been storing. Den B. tipped 15 liters of petrol on the stairwell of the house and lit it. He then ran and locked himself in the bathroom. This was followed by an explosion and a fire that spread rapidly.
The suspect was observed by the psychiatric clinic Pieter Baan Center in connection with his crimes. It was established that he had certain disorders but his degree of responsibility remained unknown. However, his extreme situation was taken into account as fuel for his actions: Den B. was at risk of losing everything he had worked for and his family was learning he was a fraud.
The court described how the suspect is tormented by his actions to this day, particularly because they caused the death of his youngest son. Den B. will pay compensation to his family members, including 262,000 euros to his ex-partner and 31,000 euros and 40,000 euros to his two living sons, respectively. The brothers of the deceased son can also claim compensation for emotional damage.