Some of the parents of the victims of serial killer Marc Dutroux have published an open letter to his lawyer, calling for an end to what they describe as “provocation” and “offence”.
The reference is to a letter published in December by lawyer Bruno Dayez in La Capitale, in which he argued for an end to Dutroux’s imprisonment, claiming the only purpose being served by his continued incarceration was to satisfy the public’s desire to see him suffer.
“It appears self-evident that Mr Dutroux is to die in prison, by preference by allowing him to suffer in a state of hopeless solitude,” Dayez wrote.
Dutroux is serving a life sentence for the murder of four girls and an accomplice, as well as the kidnapping of two more girls who survived to be rescued. His confederates have been released.
In response to Dayez’s plea, Gino Russo, father of eight-year-old victim Mélissa, published a series of photographs of his daughter, who disappeared with her friend Julie Lejeune in 1995 and died in Dutroux’s basement.
Soon after, the parents of An Marchal did the same, releasing photos of the teenager who also disappeared with a friend, this time in Ostend.
Now another letter has been published, signed by Jean Lambrecks, father of An’s friend Eefje, as well as other relatives of victims of murder – the parents of Shana Appeltans, killed a decade ago by Ronald Janssens and the parents of Annick Van Uytsel, another of his victims.
Also the parents of Natalie Gijsbrechts, who disappeared 30 years ago, and David Van der Steen, whose parents and sister were wiped out by the Brabant Killers.
“According to Marc Dutroux’s lawyer, sentencing someone to life has no point. Such criminals will not get any better, in fact the reverse is true. But Mr Dayez does not explain where he gets this idea from.
For us, it sounds like a call to potential criminals: do what you please, because a prison sentence is not so bad,” the letter states. “Meanwhile, Mr Dayez remains silent as regards an alternative to depriving someone of their liberty. For him, there is no such thing. Only a short sentence would be adequate.”
“As the victims and the loved ones of victims, we owe it to ourselves to oppose these statements strongly. On the one hand, the offence, the provocation and the compromising of victims must cease immediately, while on the other hand there must be a balance to the representation of the offenders and their victims.”
Dutroux, meanwhile, is soon to be examined again by a panel of psychiatrists to determine his current mental state, having been described at his trial in 2004 as incurable. Whatever their determination, however, it remains extremely unlikely he will ever be released.