Families angrily dismiss Belgian child killer letter

Brussels (AFP) –


The families of victims of Belgian paedophile murderer Marc Dutroux on Thursday bitterly dismissed a letter from his lawyer saying Belgium's most notorious convict was "ready to answer" their questions 22 years after his conviction.

Dutroux was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for kidnapping, molesting and imprisoning six girls and murdering four of them, in a case that shocked the world and forced Belgium to overhaul its criminal justice system.

In a letter addressed to the parents of four murdered girls and the two young women who were raped and survived their confinement, Dutroux's lawyer Bruno Dayez said his client "is ready to answer" any questions that would have remained outstanding.

This was because the "trial did not provide, and far from it, all the answers".

Families of victims fired back angrily at the approach.

"This is purely a publicity stunt on (lawyer Dayez's) part," said Els Schreurs, the partner of Jean Lambrecks, the father of murdered Eefje Lambrecks.

Dayez "wanted to make some noise with this letter, we are being manipulated", added, Georges-Henri Beauthier, a lawyer for two other victims.

Dutroux was arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnapping in August 1996. Two days later, two missing teenage girls were found alive in a hidden cellar in one of his houses in Marcinelle, close to Charleroi in southern Belgium.

In the following weeks, the bodies of two eight-year-old girls were found in a basement at one of Dutroux's houses, having died of starvation.

Following the grim discovery, Belgian authorities subsequently found the bodies of An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, 19, buried in a garden at another of Dutroux's properties.

Dutroux admitted his crimes and was duly found guilty of the kidnap and sexual abuse of six girls, and the killing of four of them. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dayez told AFP the approach was made in the perspective of a new application for parole, with a release in 2021 in mind.

"It seemed appropriate to me to take a step in their (the victims) direction," the lawyer said.

However, the lawyer also warned victims that Dutroux was broke and unable to pay reparations.

"He has absolutely nothing and he is totally and definitively incapable of satisfying this requirement," wrote Dayez.