Woman faces 18 years for killing Ichelle van de Velde, chopping up body
On Wednesday, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded 18 years in prison against 46-year-old Sandra H. from Zeeland. She is accused of murdering Ichelle van de Velde (29) by strangling her on 15 December 2020 and then cutting up her body.
According to the public prosecutor, H. felt “cheated” by the victim because her then-husband and Van de Velde had fallen “in love” with each other during a short-lived triad relationship.
“She had to watch passively, felt betrayed, and was angry. Her anger may have exploded that morning shortly after she read the WhatsApp messages between Ichelle and her husband. Her idea was: If I can’t get Ichelle, then neither can you.”
H. previously claimed that Ichelle’s death happened by accident in the kitchen of her spiritual shop. H. said that she wanted to warn Ichelle about her husband. “He would get Ichelle pregnant, and then she couldn’t get rid of him. I didn’t want her to go through the same thing as me,” H. told the court. According to the suspect, their discussion degenerated into pushing and pulling, and Ichelle hit a heater and lost consciousness. “I panicked. Then I gently closed her throat.”
The OM believes H. is lying and hit the victim with a “blunt object” on her head, making the considerably taller and heavier Van de Velde “defenseless.” After that, H. suffocated the woman, the OM believes.
“How credible is it that someone weighing 60 kilograms, with a neck hernia and a broken little finger, can push the six-foot-tall and 80-kilogram Ichelle so hard that she lands on the right tip of the radiator? And how believable is it that if you’re not angry at someone, you still squeeze her throat closed? H. was indeed angry, and she saved Ichelle as ‘bitch’ on her phone,” the prosecutor said.
H. hid Ichelle’s body in her spiritual shop in Oostburg for weeks while the police and Ichelle’s family desperately searched for the missing woman. When the victim’s brother and mother inquired in the store during the search on January 5, her remains were still there. “She was still completely intact in the fitting room. I had put all boxes in front of it and burned a lot of incense,” H. told the court on Tuesday. “I tried to get her out of the store like that, but I couldn’t lift her.”
In the following period, H. bought a hand ax and a saw to cut the young woman’s corpse into pieces. She put the body parts in garbage bags, which she drove around in her car for a long time, using a deodorizer to mask the stench. After dumping the first bags in a canal., H. kept part of Ichelle’s body in a garage.
“Inhumane and disgusting,” the OM said. At the advice of mental health experts, the OM did not demand institutionalized psychiatric treatment against H. but did ask the court to impose a measure that influences behavior and restricts freedom. “For long-term monitoring, if she is released.”