Kim De Gelder, who entered a crèche in Dendermonde in East Flanders ten years ago and attacked staff and babies with a knife, is to be committed to a psychiatric institution, a court has decided. De Gelder was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 for four counts of murder and 25 of attempted murder. The jury at the time found that he was fit to plead, and at the time of the attack was not suffering from a psychiatric illness.
Since then, however, the law on psychiatric internment has changed, and the director of the prison in Oudenaarde where he was imprisoned in 2017 applied to the newly created tribunal for the protection of society to have him interned under the new procedure. De Gelder’s condition has, it was reported, worsened since the trial, and the prison authorities accused him of provocative and threatening behaviour, including making death threats to members of staff. The medication he was taking to control his aggression, the director reported, had made him listless and turned in upon himself.
He later was moved to the prison in Ghent, where he remains for the time being, but the prison director’s application was still considered and now has been approved.
The verdict comes after De Gelder was examined by four forensic psychiatrists. According to his lawyer Jaak Haentjens they found him to be mentally disordered, while the prosecutor’s office dropped its earlier objection to internment. With the tribunal’s decision, he can now be interned in a Forensic Psychiatric Centre (FPC). Should his condition improve in the future, the tribunal can decide to return him to prison to finish serving his sentence. Otherwise he could in theory be detained in the FPC for the rest of his life.