Hit and run driver’s trial postponed, as court order bans him from Brussels
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    Hit and run driver’s trial postponed, as court order bans him from Brussels

    © Belga
    The accused hides his face from the cameras in a previous court hearing
    © Belga

    The man sentenced to five years in prison for the hit-and-run killing of 12-year-old schoolgirl Merel De Prins failed to turn up for his trial in Brussels today on different charges. Muhammed Aytekin was unable to attend because he is under court orders not to enter Brussels.

    The accident took place in Vilvoorde in 2015, when Aytekin was 20. Merel was cycling home to Eppegem from school at lunchtime on Wednesday when she was run over while on the cycle path. Aytekin, driving a BMW, immediately left the scene. Merel died of her injuries later in hospital.

    Aytekin initially fled the country but gave himself up five days later to police. It was then discovered that he had never held a driving licence and had in fact been sentenced 18 times for driving without a licence, and for driving while banned. He had been driving at 85km/h at the time of the accident, and the BMW was not insured.

    Aytekin was sentenced to five years in 2017, fined 6,000 euros and given a lifelong driving ban. He served several months but was later released for treatment of a serious eye condition.

    Last October a court ruled he may serve the rest of his sentence under electronic surveillance and with certain conditions, one of which was a ban on him entering Brussels. The court heard how he had a strictly worked out rehabilitation plan, recognised the wrong he had committed and felt “sincere and genuine remorse”.

    Previously, Merel’s parents had met with the man, a meeting they described as “disappointing”. Their impression, they said at the time, was that he felt no remorse at all.

    This morning he was due to show up again in court, this time in relation to the fraudulent bankruptcy of a company, but was under legal orders not to enter Brussels. The proceedings have been postponed until 13 June.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times