MOSCOW, February 18 - RAPSI. A Belgian court ruled against a plea for early release launched by infamous pedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux, who has come to be known throughout Europe for his reputations both as a barbaric criminal and as an illustration of a justice system too lenient to curb recidivism, the BBC reported Monday.
According to Michael Newton’s The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, Dutroux was convicted along with his then-wife Michelle Martin in 1989 of having kidnapped and raped five girls. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison. However, he was back on the streets by 1992, having been released on parole in connection with a program aimed at closely monitoring the activities of sex offenders. He was further granted social welfare in the amount normally received by state invalids: $1,162 each month.
Newton writes that Dutroux’s mother had warned against his early release in 1992, claiming: “I have known for a long time and with good cause my eldest’s temperament. What I do not know, and what all the people who know him fear [is] what he has in mind for the future.”
After his release, Dutroux rapidly amassed a fortune with which he purchased seven houses. Newton attributed this to Dutroux’s return to crime.
In 1993, a police informant reported that he had been offered “long-haired, slender and prepubescent” girls at $3,500 a head by Dutroux, who had purportedly built a holding cell underneath one of his properties to protect his inventory of kidnapped girls.
The information – according to Newton – was initially ignored. However, police began to zero in on Dutroux as a series of disappearances swept the country between 1995 and 1996.
In June 1995, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, both aged eight, disappeared while playing together in their neighborhood. Two months later, An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks, aged 17 and 19 respectively, went missing from seaside resort while on vacation. In December 1995, a 14-year-old girl named Laetitia Delhez disappeared while on her way home from the pool. In May 1996, 12-year-old Sabinne Dardenne went missing while riding her bike to school.
In connection with the disappearances of Lejeune and Russo, police searched Dutroux’s home in 1995. According to Newton, they had heard muffled screams while investigating, but accepted Dutroux’s explanation that it was probably just children playing outside.
On August 13, 1996, however, Dutroux was arrested – again alongside his then former-wife Michelle Martin. At that point, Dutroux led police to his home, where they found malnourished, abused, and drugged, but still alive, Delhez and Dardenne.
Dutroux then admitted to having kidnapped and murdered Lambrecks and Marchal, who were “drugged, bound, and buried alive,” according to Newton. Dutroux then led police to a burial site from which the bodies of Lejeune and Russo were unearthed, who were both starved to death.
Dutroux and his accomplices were charged with murder and kidnapping.
At one point during his trial in April 1998, Dutroux managed to escape from the courthouse, though he was captured again shortly thereafter.
A number of high-level officials who had been implicated in Dutroux’s 1992 parole decision and his 1998 escape lost or resigned from their positions.
Judge Jean-Marc Connerotte – who was removed from the trial early on due to a conflict of interest after having attended a fundraiser for some of the victims – cried on the witness stand as he described the initial reluctance of Delhez and Dardenne to evacuate the cell once they were freed. He claimed that the girls had kissed and thanked Dutroux as they left the bunker.
According to Newton, Dutroux was convicted by a jury on June 17, 2004 for the murders of Lambrecks and Marchal; the kidnappings of Dardenne, Delhez, Lejeune, and Russo; and the rapes of Dardenne and Delhez.
According to the BBC, he was then given a life sentence.
Echoing her sentiment from his 1992 acquittal, Dutroux’s mother urged against her son’s early release in the lead-up to Monday’s hearing, telling Belgium’s Soir Magazine that her son is “a recidivist in his soul.”