Convicted crime boss Willem Holleeder sent to prison for life on appeal
The court sentenced Willem Holleeder to life in prison on appeal on Friday. Like the court in 2019, the appeals court convicted him of orchestrating five murders in which six people were killed. The appeals court considered it proven that the murders were committed on Holleeder's instructions, NOS reports.
It concerns the murders of Cor van Hout and Robert ter Haak in 2003, Willem Endstra in 2004, John Mieremet in 2005, Kees Houtman in 2005, and Thomas van der Bijl in 2006.
Holleeder was convicted mainly based on incriminating statements from witnesses, including his sisters Sonja and Astrid. Holleeder claimed his sisters were after Cor van Hout's inheritance and therefore tried to incriminate him. Sonja Holleeder was married to Cor van Hout. But the court saw no evidence that this was the case. There were also statements from key witnesses Peter La S. and Fred Ros.
Holleeder and his lawyers maintained that there is no direct evidence that Holleeder was behind the murders, like telephone taps or DNA. They also suggested alternative scenarios, like that criminal Stanley Hills ordered the murders before he was assassinated himself. The lawyers called for Holleeder's acquittal.
But according to the court, there is no evidence for the alternative scenarios. And all testimonies against Holleeder were supported by other documents in the criminal file. "This was not a case of Holleeder's word against his sisters'," the court said.
Astrid and Sonja Holleeder have mixed feelings about the verdict, their lawyer Willem Jebbing said to NOS. "Because in the end, he is still their brother. That sad dimension remains. They think it is important that he has been convicted, but it remains a day with a dark shadow on it."