Albert Heijn stabbing suspect asked for social help twice this year, says Hague mayor
The man suspected of stabbing a supermarket employee to death in The Hague on Tuesday recently asked the municipality for help. The city said that Jamel L., 56, was aggressive and intimidating, and it was not possible to find suitable shelter for him in the short term because of his behavior.
He applied for assistance in April “because of insufficient income.” Almost two weeks ago, he requested housing in a shelter. On June 13, he took part in an intake interview with him.
“During the various contacts with the suspect, there was verbal aggression and intimidation,” the mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, said on Friday. The municipality registered this in an internal system and also reported the situation to the police.
The police have not yet responded to questions about what happened to the municipality’s report about L.
Due to the incidents in The Hague, Jamel L. was no longer allowed to enter the municipality’s buildings, including City Hall and the district offices. It is not yet known where L. spent his time during the week prior to the fatal stabbing.
A 36-year-old Albert Heijn employee working at the supermarket on Turfmarkt in the city center was stabbed shortly after the store opened on Tuesday. She died at the scene. Jamel L. was arrested outside the store.
The suspect has a long criminal history in the Netherlands, England and Curaçao. In 2018 he was sentenced in Curaçao to serve an indefinite period in a psychiatric prison facility, but the Netherlands refused to adopt that measure. Documents from the court in Curaçao, which ANP has reviewed, showed that this was not possible “partly because of the costs.”
Since September 2022, once L. was back in the Netherlands, he came into contact with the police because of new crimes. At the beginning of this month, Jamel L. was sentenced by the District Court in Rotterdam for violence and for threatening municipal employees “in the Rotterdam region.” He had served the entirety of his sentence in pre-trial detention and was therefore immediately released after the verdict was handed down.
The Court announced on Thursday that it was not aware that a Curaçao court had ordered the psychiatric institutionalization measure.
Minister of Justice Dilan Yeşilgöz said she "vey well" understands citizens who are now left wondering why L. was walking around on the streets. She expressed her condolences to the victim's surviving relatives, and everyone who witnessed the incident. "This is just very intense," the minister said prior to the weekly Cabinet meeting on Friday.
"Certainly with these kinds of intense cases, I understand that there are many questions," she said, adding that she too has questions. Such as how well various authorities communicated with each other. Yesilgöz would not answer questions about whether he actually should have been in jail when the incident took place in The Hague. Despite having strong emotions about the incident, "as a minister I have to rely on the facts."
Legal Protection Minister Franc Weerwind will order an investigation into how the suspect has been treated by the criminal law system prior to this week, he wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday. "We are now looking closely at what happened in the past," added his colleague, Yesilgöz.
She emphasized that it is important to have the facts in order first. "Then you know what it's about." Space must be given to the criminal investigation. The minister also said that the investigation must continue, and people have to wait for the full accounting of all the facts. Then, any errors should be discussed, and the question of how the errors could be avoided can be answered, she said.