Two convicted of negligence in fatal GHB overdose will not serve jail time
Two people were convicted on Wednesday of negligence for the wrongful death of Listette Elzinga. The 26-year-old drank from a water bottle containing pure GHB while in the Heerenveen home of Bernard H. on October 15, 2021. She died in a hospital ten days later. H., a 49-year-old man, was sentenced to 150 hours of community service. The victim's friend, 30-year-old Sylvia de V., was convicted but was unpunished by the court.
The Heerenveen man and De V. found the victim unconscious early in the morning. De V. was one of Elzinga's friends. Still, it took her 2.5 hours to call 112 after finding Elzinga. The victim died as the result of taking a combination of alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine and GHB. The court ruled that her death was also partially due to a failure to seek medical attention in time. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) had demanded a suspended prison sentence of four months against H. and De V.
H. had met Elzinga and De V. the night before in a café. The women went home with him where they joined two of H.'s friends. The Heerenveen man handed out alcohol and ecstasy. The next morning, Elzinga drank from what she may have thought was a normal bottle of water, but was actually GHB. It has not become clear who owned the bottle. There is also no evidence that she was deliberate administered GHB.
When she woke up, De V. saw that her friend was unconscious, and she went to H. for help because of his experience with drugs. The man was sleeping on an upper floor. One of his friends had left around 5:30 a.m. The other friend had stayed behind in a room with the women. According to him, Elzinga had drunk from a bottle from the refrigerator. H. told the court that he used GHB in the past, but denied that it was his bottle.
H. and De V. figured out that Elzinga had ingested GHB. H. said he thought she was in a deep sleep and needed to sleep it off. He and De V. had also found this information on websites that morning, according to H. He opted to go back to sleep himself, while De V. stayed with Elzinga. The court noted that those same websites also stated that emergency services must be called if someone passes out after taking GHB. According to the judge, both suspects were careless and negligent. The police and the OM did not pursue a case against the other two men who had been in the home earlier.
When determining the sentence, the court took into account threats against H., and the potential loss of work. De V. was also found guilty, but she was not punished by the court because the loss of her friend has had a major impact on her.
According to Elzinga's family, the men were pursuing a drug-fueled sex party, but H. denied the accusation. "We hope it continues to gnaw at their conscience and that someone will come forward with the truth in the future," the family said.
Reporting by ANP