The family of the woman who was fatally stabbed in the Evere neighbourhood of Brussels at the end of May has joined the investigation as a civil party.
The case is still being investigated, and no legal proceedings have yet been instituted, but Belgian law allows anyone who has a valid interest in an investigation – usually victims and their families – to join as a civil party.
That then gives them access to the case files, and the right to call for investigative actions by the investigating magistrate. They can also be represented in court for the trial, and make a plea in the sentencing phase.
There is currently one suspect in police custody, who denies any involvement with the murder, which is an especially unusual one because it took place in broad daylight on a public street and seemingly at random.
The victim was a 36-year-old mother, who was pushing her baby in a stroller while taking a walk in the neighbourhood of Evere when she was suddenly attacked and stabbed in the neck with a sharp object. Her baby was unharmed.
Shortly after his arrest, reports Bruzz, he stated that he had not left his home on the evening of the stabbing, but that proved to be untrue.
The man can be seen on the footage of a surveillance camera in the area.
Police found a knife and a bloody jumper during a search of his mother’s apartment, where he lives. It is not yet clear whether this is blood from the victim. The garment and the knife are still under thorough investigation.
During a new search today, the laptop of the suspect was also seized.
The man denies his involvement in the murder via his lawyer. The defence has appealed against the decision of a committal hearng in court to confirm the arrest warrant issued by the Brussels investigating judge.