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No early parole for Belgian child-killer

AFP-JIJI

A Belgian court rejected a request by notorious child sex killer Marc Dutroux for early release from prison Monday, much to the relief of his victims’ families.

Belgium’s “most hated man” wanted to serve out the rest of his sentence under electronic surveillance, after being jailed for life in 2004 for the kidnapping and rape between 1995 and 1996 of six girls, four of whom died.

Dutroux’s request had horrified Belgium, reviving painful memories of its worst criminal case, which put pedophilia firmly on the map — to the country’s evident shame and deep unease.

“There are no grounds on which to base a (release) under surveillance by electronic bracelet,” the court said, citing the “absence of any prospect” Dutroux could be reintegrated into society.

Dutroux, 56, earlier this month asked a special court that he be released and placed under house arrest with an electronic tag to keep track of his movements.

The Brussels court reviewed psychiatric, prison and judicial reports about the former electrician, who claimed that he could find work as either a plumber or floor-layer upon release.

The reports said this was not a realistic possibility, adding that where he would live was uncertain, while there was also a risk that he might commit fresh crimes or harass his victims or their families.

The court said the key issue was that Dutroux had not made clear where “he planned to go, nor how he would find a place to live” and on that basis alone, the request was rejected.

His mother, who no longer has any contact with her son, insisted Monday that he should not be released at any cost.

“I have not the slightest desire to see him free. He is a recidivist at heart and has proved that all his life,” she told Le Soir Magazine in an interview.

Dutroux’s approach to the courts followed a successful appeal in August by his wife and accomplice, Michelle Martin, whose release from prison to a convent in central Belgium sparked an uproar.

The 52-year-old mother of three of Dutroux’s own children and former schoolteacher was granted release on parole after serving barely half of her 30-year sentence.

Martin was found guilty of helping Dutroux hold his victims prisoner and of complicity in the deaths of two 8-year-olds, found starved to death in a locked cellar.

Dutroux was arrested in August 1996 after a 14-year-old went missing. She was found alive two days later along with a girl of 12, cowering in the basement of one of his homes.

The case then took a gruesome turn when the bodies of the two 8-year-olds were found buried in the garden of his main residence. Less than a month later, the bodies of two more girls were found on another property owned by Dutroux.