Murder trial of disabled Liege teen resumes after measles contagion scare
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Murder trial of disabled Liege teen resumes after measles contagion scare

The five youths on trial for torturing and killing a disabled teen from Liège were all found guilty of murder. Credit: © Belga

The trial of the five persons accused of murdering and torturing a disabled teen near Liege resumed on Monday, following its suspension last week over fears of a measles contagion, after an outbreak of the highly infectious disease broke out in the prison were the detainees are being held.

Last week, the trial was brought to an abrupt halt just as a new hearing was set to start, and the five accused of cruelly torturing and murdering 18-year-old Valentin Vermeesch were put in quarantine in the vicinity of the court.

Four out of the five detainees are being held in Lantin prison, near Liege, currently on lockdown after several cases of measles were reported within, while the fifth was not at risk of contagion since he was being held in a different prison, according to RTBF.

“Two of the accused were perfectly immunized [against the disease]. Belinda Donnay et Dorian Daniels received an additional round of vaccines because they were only partially immunized. Nobody showed signs of infection,” Philippe Boxho, a medical examiner, said on Monday, referring to the four detainees being held in Lantin.

The outbreak in the prison, ongoing for at least a week, has seen at least six inmates come down with the disease as well as three prison guards, according to the last count on Friday.

According to Boxho, a visitor would have brought the disease into the prison around May 12.

Vaccinations are currently being administered to both guards and prison personnel, in an effort to curb the outbreak, after a record number of infection cases so far this year has caused alarm among medical practitioners in other parts of Belgium.

On Monday the court is set to continue hearing the defendants’ testimonies, in a trial that has been ongoing for weeks and has captured national media attention due to the gruesome way in which the group of five murdered Vermeesch, an acquaintance who suffered from a slight mental handicap, after viciously torturing him for hours.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times