A 36-year-old man from Koekelberg in Brussels is in custody charged with severely injuring his three-month-old daughter by throwing her violently to the floor when she would not stop crying and refused to take her bottle. The man, named as Cédric Van Ruymbeke, previously spent six years of a nine-year sentence in prison for beating his six-month-old son to death. He spent another two years under electronic surveillance, which ended in February.
The child’s mother was not at home when the latest incident occurred, but the mother of the dead boy, Van Ruymbeke’s ex-wife, issued a plea for him to be given life imprisonment on this occasion. “It always comes back: the anger, the anxiety. I hope his latest little victim survives.” Their son Lyam, the court heard at the time, was beaten because he disturbed Van Ruymbeke while he was playing a computer game. “Everything went black in front of my eyes,” he told police on Sunday. He has since been charged with attempted murder and remains in detention.
On Sunday, he turned himself in to police to report his own assault on his daughter. The child was said to have suffered multiple injuries, in particular head injuries, doctors said. At the time of writing she was reported to be in a critical condition in intensive care.
The accused will appear before a court on Friday where it is expected his detention will be prolonged, given the gravity of the offence and the fact that he is a repeat offender. According to his lawyers, he is in need of psychiatric help rather than a long prison term. The counselling he received when in prison the first time had appeared to produce positive results – until the early hours of last Sunday morning.