Dutch man gets life in Belgium for four murders

A jury in the West Flanders region of Belgium has sentenced a 29-year-old Dutch man to life imprisonment, and ten years in a psychiatric institution, for the 2017 murder of his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend, her grandparents, and a photographer for whom the then young woman sometimes modeled.

The suspect, Alexander D., was convicted of interrogating and torturing the photographer in his Ghent home for eight hours before stabbing him to death. The next day he also stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Maïlys Descamps, in her home in Moere, West Flanders, and then aided her in shooting her grandparents.

The jury ruled that the murders were premeditated. D. spoke to his victims, who in both cases begged him not to use further violence.

On July 25, 2017, D. went to Descamps’ home, who had originally met the bodybuilder through the internet. A few days earlier, she had texted the Dutch man that she would not get back together with him. She had previously told the then 24-year-old D. about her racy photo shoots with the photographer, Jeroen Verstraete, that may have involved sexual contact.

After the relationship with D. ended, he cyberstalked and threatened Descamps for weeks. Once in the house, he first knifed Descamps, then her grandparents Gery Cappon (68) and Marie-José Vanleene (64), who had come to the scene because they correctly feared that her stalker was there.

The man was arrested the following evening in the center of Ostend. In the meantime, the police discovered the connection with the murder of Verstraete on the night of July 24.

An appeal in the case is not possible, as the trial was held before a jury.

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