Belgium’s top court ruled today that the serial child-killer, Marc Dutroux, must remain behind bars, after the convicted paedophile’s own mother pleaded with the judges to reject his parole request because she was certain he would strike again.
Dutroux, 56, had asked the court to release him into house arrest just eight years into his life sentence for the rape and kidnap of six girls and the murder of four of them. He argued that he could work as a plumber or a mechanic while wearing an electronic tracking bracelet.
But in an interview published the morning of the court ruling, Jeannine Dutroux told Le Soir that she could not bear for her son to be freed within her lifetime.
“I am certain he would start again. He has no sense of reality. He is a repeat offender,” the 78-year-old told the Belgian news magazine. “Marc isn’t ready to be released because he still wants to attribute to others the responsibility for what he did... Sooner or later, he will come out, but I hope I am no longer of this world when this happens.”
The judge reached the same conclusion, deciding that there was no realistic prospect for the rehabilitation and resettlement of Dutroux.
It was not the first time that Mrs Dutroux had intervened to try and warn the authorities about her son. In the late 1980s, when he was serving time for child rape and abduction, she wrote to the prison director and said she was concerned “what he has in mind for the future”.
Her pleas went unheeded, and Dutroux was released to attack again – with fatal consequences.
Dutroux was arrested in 1996 and finally convicted in 2004 for the kidnap and rape of six girls aged between eight and 19, and the murder of four of them. His ex-wife, former schoolteacher Michelle Martin, was sentenced to 30 years for assisting the kidnapping and complicity in the deaths of two girls.
She was allowed early release last year, on the condition that she went to live in a remote convent in southern Belgium, provoking outrage from the victims’ relatives.
It is a particularly sensitive case for the Belgian authorities, with police and judicial officials accused of a series of errors. Dutroux and Martin – whose case invoked comparisons with Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – were jailed in 1986 on charges of abduction and rape of five girls, but released for good behaviour just a few years into their sentences.
In 1996, police visited and searched the couple’s home while two eight-year-old girls were being held captive in a makeshift dungeon below the unassuming house in Marcinelle, central Belgium. They left without taking action, and the girls later died of starvation.
The two other victims – aged 17 and 19 – were buried alive. A 12-year-old and 14-year-old were rescued from the dungeon alive.
Prisoners in Belgium can apply for parole after serving a third of their sentence or 15 years of a life sentence. Including his incarceration while awaiting conviction, Dutroux has spent 16 years in jail for the crimes.