Julie Van Espen’s suspected murderer sees detention extended by two months

Julie Van Espen’s suspected murderer sees detention extended by two months
A court has extended the preventive detention of the presumed murderer of a 23-year-old Julie Van Espen. Credit: supplied

The preventive detention of the suspected murderer of 23-year-old Julie Van Espen has been extended by an additional two months, following a ruling by an Antwerp court on Friday.

Steve Bakelmans, the 39-year-old confessed-murderer of Van Espen, was represented by his lawyer at a council chamber of the Antwerp court, who did not appeal the decision.

“We are going to wait and the further course of the investigation,” his lawyer told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

After Van Espen’s body was recovered from a canal two days after her disappearance, Bakelmans confessed to killing her after attempting to rape her.

At the time of the events, Bakelmans was facing a second conviction over rape but had been freed after his appeal case was “indefinitely delayed.

At the end of June, he was dealt a prison sentence, marking the end of the second of those convictions three years after the events took place.

As part of the ongoing investigation into the murder, Bakelmans last week was set to take part in a reconstruction of the murder scene, which was cancelled on site after he said he felt incapable of participating in it.

The investigation into the murder of the 23-year-old student is ongoing, but the presumed murderer’s lawyers told the outlet that it was unlikely that authorities would organise a second reconstruction.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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