Defendants 'remorseful' over murder of disabled Liege teen as jury deliberations begin

Defendants 'remorseful' over murder of disabled Liege teen as jury deliberations begin
The five youths on trial for torturing and killing a disabled teen from Liège were all found guilty of murder. Credit: © Belga

The five youth accused of cruelly torturing and murdering a disabled teen from Liège apologised to their victim's parents on Tuesday, just as the jury deliberations were set to begin.

During Tuesday's session of the highly publicised trial, each of the five defendants addressed the room and the parents of late Valentin Vermeesch to express regret over their "unforgivable" actions.

The group of five are on trial for kidnapping and cruelly torturing 18-year-old Vermeesch for hours, before throwing him into the La Meuse river while he was still alive but tied-up.

"I cannot ask for forgiveness for what I have done because it is unforgivable," Alexandre Hart, thought of as the leader of the group, said. "But I present my excuses to Valentin's family."

Medical examiners in the trial said that Hart, now 21 but now 19 at the time of the events, fits the psychological profile of a psychopath.

Belinda Donnay, suspected of having assisted Hart in throwing Vermeesch into the river, said: "I wanted to explain, during the trial, why I did not put an end to all of it," she said. "But I don't have the answer. I am sorry for Valentin's family. What he suffered is unforgivable and inexplicable."

Fellow defendants Dorian Daniels, Loick Masson and Killian Wilmet said they "immensely regretted," their actions and the first two said they "never intended to kill their victim."

On Tuesday, the jury is set to start deliberations under strict conditions, as they will be locked in a Liège hotel room for several days with no contact with the outside world.

After deliberating on almost a hundred questions regarding the acts of the five accused, the jury's verdict will be read in a public hearing.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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