The Dutch investigative journalist Peter R, de Vries has died in hospital in Amsterdam from injuries sustained when he was shot in the street nine days ago.
De Vries was a prominent figure in the Dutch media, thanks to his investigations into organised crime and its connections in Dutch society. He worked principally on TV, but has also written several books.
On Tuesday last week he was shot, reportedly five times, on the street in Amsterdam close to where he had just been appearing on RTL TV. Since then hospital staff have been fighting for his life, but in the end his injuries were too severe.
Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting. One is a relative of an associate of Ridouan Taghi, allegedly the leader of a Moroccan-Dutch drugs gang that has no qualms about killing anyone who stands in their way.
There is a key witness in the case against Taghi and his gang, who is in protective custody. His lawyer, Derk Wiersum, has already been murdered, as has his own brother. Nonetheless, De Vries agreed to become his person of confidence, which placed him, not for the first time, in the sights of ruthless criminals.
The thing that everyone thought was eventually inevitable for a man of such purpose and such courage, has now come to pass.
Peter Rudolf de Vries started his career with the Dutch tabloid De Telegraaf in the 1970s, as in most cases at the time as a general reporter.
Before long he developed a taste for crime stories, usually petty crimes far from the world where he would later make his name.
Since 1991, however, he has been an independent crime investigator, spending months or even years following this and that story, and providing his services to whichever media were interested.
His name was made on the back of stories no-one else could devote the time and energy to – and indeed the enviable contacts and persistence.
Those include the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, boss of the beer brewer, in 1983, obtaining exclusive interviews with the kidnappers.
Justice also works in both directions, and De Vries was largely responsible for the release in 2002 of two men convicted of the rape and murder of an air steward, but not before they had served two-thirds of their sentence.
Six years later the real criminal was arrested and, on the basis of DNA evidence, convicted and sentenced to 18 years.
“Peter R. de Vries is particularly committed when he gets stuck in a case,” said Dirk Leestmans, crime reporter for the VRT on the station’s afternoon news.
“Some wonder whether you can still call him a journalist. There are several crime cases that bear his signature: he has had a particularly strong reputation over the years.”