Dutroux defence gives up hope of parole after psychiatric report

Dutroux defence gives up hope of parole after psychiatric report
Dutroux in the dock in 2004. © Belga

Convicted kidnapper and serial killer Marc Dutroux and his defence have given up any hope of obtaining release on parole, following a damning psychiatric report delivered yesterday, lawyer Bruno Dayez announced.

Dutroux filed for parole last October, and the prosecutor’s office in Brussels ordered a new psychiatric report to assist the court in its decision on the suit.

At the time, Gino Russo, whose daughter Mélissa was one of Dutroux’s victims, pointed out, “There have already been three reports by psychiatric experts which clearly stated that there was an absence of empathy, that [Dutroux] was a psychopath and that he was not curable.”

The report, not unexpectedly, arrived at the same conclusion as its predecessors.

Marc Dutroux was no more than a scrap merchant and a petty thief when he was convicted of abduction and rape in 1989 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. However he was released after serving only three and a half years, when the justice minister at the time, Melchior Wathelet, ignored the advice of the prosecution and a court-appointed psychiatrist.

Wathelet went on to be a judge at the European Court of Justice. Dutroux, meanwhile, went on to kidnap two eight-year-old girls, Julie and Mélissa, the two teenagers An and Eefje, and then finally two more teenagers, Sabine and Laetitia.

Sabine and Laetitia were released alive by police thanks to an alert eye-witness who saw Laetitia being snatched. The bodies of Julie and Mélissa, An and Eefje and Dutroux’s confederate Bernard Weinstein were discovered later, when Dutroux decided to confess.

He was tried in Arlon in 2004 and sentenced to life imprisonment, the culmination of a case that lad led to the reform of the early release system, taking it out of the hands of politicians; and to the reform of the police system, disbanding the paramilitary gendarmerie and placing police matters in the hands of a federal police service.

Two of Dutroux’s accomplices, his former wife Michelle Martin and his drug-addicted confederate Michel Lelièvre, have already been released on parole, but the release of Dutroux, even at the end of his sentence – life in Belgium is considered to be 30 years – has been a hot potato no justice minister cares to contemplate.

That issue has now been taken out of their hands.

The psychiatric report, Dayez revealed, argues that “only keeping [Dutroux] in a strict and closed environment will prevent society from being in danger. I am therefore facing a brick wall and have to review my position.”

Dutroux, the report states, is a psychopath who demonstrated asocial traits of sadism and perversion. He shows no empathy for his victims.

According to Dayez, the circumstances of his detention do nothing to contribute to his rehabilitation. The report will now be considered by a panel of experts who will advise the court.

If the panel of experts concludes that there is no alternative to detention ad vitam, I will focus on the conditions of his detention, which are appalling, and on his version of the events, which he absolutely wishes to communicate because he has the feeling that he was not heard during his trial, and that he has nothing more to lose,” Dayez said.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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