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Europe

Flanders creche suspect charged with killing three

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Latest update : 2009-01-25

Belgian authorities have charged a 20-year-old man with killing two infants and an adult during a knife attack at a day-care centre in Dendermonde. The suspect was arrested shortly after the attack on Friday.

AFP - A 20-year-old Belgian man has been charged with killing two infants and a 54-year-old female employee at a child daycare centre and has been remanded in custody, a prosecutor said Saturday.
   
The man, who was arrested Friday shortly after the rampage, was interrogated by police and then brought before a judge later that day who charged him and placed him under arrest, said the prosecutor in Termonde in western Belgium.
   
The accused, whose identity has not been released, was also charged with attempted murder, the prosecutor said.
   
Ten children and two staff were wounded, some seriously, in the attack in the town of Dendermonde near Brussels.
   
After staff opened the door, the man barged into The Country of Fables daycare centre with a 30-centimetre (12-inch) long knife and began slashing some of the children lying in beds, none more than three years old, officials said.
   
During the police interrogation, the man who had his face painted white with black around his eyes -- making some think of the Joker character in Batman -- gave no indication about his motives for the attack, a prosecution spokesman said.
   
The prosecution also has denied rumours that the accused escaped from a  psychiatric ward or was high on drugs or alcohol.
   
According to the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, the man allegedly admitted to the killings after 10 hours of interrogation during which he laughed several times.
   
The newspaper also claimed that police prevented "a second bloodbath" as the accused had on him a second knife and the address of another child daycare centre.
   
Of the 12 wounded in the attack, a six-month-old baby and a three-year-old child were in very serious but not life-threatening condition on Saturday, a spokesman at the Ghent university hospital said.
   
Another medical official said many of the wounded had been "mutiliated" and would need plastic surgery.
   
The tragedy is one of a number of deadly attacks at schools or child care centres in Europe in recent years.
   
Belgium is still in shock over the case of a woman who cut the throats of her five children and a series of paedophile scandals.

Date created : 2009-01-24

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