Rotterdam man could spend 8 years in prison for killing his baby during psychotic break
Prosecutors called for a 23-year-old Rotterdam man, Ruud S., to be convicted of murdering his six-month-old daughter. Prosecutors said he should be sentenced to eight years in prison and TBS, a form of mandatory institutionalization in a psychiatric facility for a period that can be extended. He was having a psychotic episode at the time as the result of schizophrenia, according to the psychiatrist and psychologist who evaluated him.
S. worked for the Ministry of Defense as an IT specialist, which is why he was put on trial at the military chamber of the court in Arnhem. He was having a psychotic episode when he stabbed the girl to death, according to the psychiatrist and a psychologist.
The baby girl, Emily, was killed on July 17 in an apartment on the Wolphaertsbocht in Rotterdam-Charlois. S. cut her throat with a large knife in a bedroom. “It is terrible what happened, really terrible,” said the suspect.
According to his psychiatrist and psychologist, S. was seriously under the influence of a psychotic disorder. He should be considered less responsible for his actions as a result. They advised the court to sentence the suspect to long-term treatment in the form of TBS.
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) accepted that advice. However, "in light of the nature and horror of the act," the OM also demanded a prison sentence.
The defense attorney said S. was completely insane, given his disorders, and said it was not a case of murder, but manslaughter. She pleaded for the suspect to be allowed to immediately begin TBS treatment, and not serve a prison sentence. "He needs proper treatment," the attorney said.
S. stated at the start of his criminal case that he felt he was under pressure from the girl’s mother and uncle. He said he killed Emily after the mother made a slashing motion across the neck herself, which he took as a reason to kill the girl. He also stated that he was afraid that they would kill him otherwise, and that he was not allowed to flee. He possibly imagined all this as a result of the psychosis.
In November 2021 he went on burnout leave. He said that while at home he started using drugs daily to combat panic attacks. “I smoked quite a lot, five to six joints a day. I also used speed for three months,” said S. According to the experts, cannabis use may have fueled the psychosis.
The OM painted a picture of a drug-addicted suspect plagued by issues, and a deteriorating psychological condition. S. was not only a family man and soldier, but according to the prosecutor, he also worked in the criminal underworld as a drug trafficker and courier, and the operator of a webshop stocked with fake products. By playing several games of chess at the same time, he was doomed to collapse psychologically, according to the prosecutor.
Snorting speed and smoking cannabis contributed to the delusions. The drug use means he himself contributed to the psychosis and therefore he is not completely without culpability, the OM argued.
In June, his own father sounded an alarm about his deteriorating condition. His parents thought S. was becoming psychotic, imagining plots against him, and they began to fear for their own safety. “I did indeed go crazy,” the suspect said about that. He also told his father that he was troubled by inner demons and that darkness sometimes fell before his eyes. He then refused help “because I was so stubborn” and ended up on a weeks-long waiting list for psychiatric care.
Emily’s uncle testified about incidents the day before the murder. For example, at a car wash, S. was preparing to stab someone with a box cutter and then almost struck someone on a scooter.
The military court will issue a ruling on June 8.
Reporting by ANP