The criminal court of Antwerp acquitted Mehmet A. (60) from Deurne on Wednesday for the attempted murder of his neighbor. He had closed her chimney with plastic bags, putting her at risk of CO poisoning. According to the prosecutor, he did that with the intention of killing her. He had asked for a six-year prison sentence against the man. However, the court doubted the defendant’s intention and acquitted him.
Mehmet A. has been renovating his home on Schotensesteenweg for some time now. According to his neighbor, he also does this in the evenings and on weekends and ignores her requests to respect her rest. She complained to the police several times and tried to resolve the situation through neighbor mediation, but the defendant refused to cooperate.
READ ALSO. Angry man closes neighbor’s chimney with plastic bags: prosecutor demands six years in prison for attempted murder
When the woman had a company come to her heating system in the spring, they found a high CO value. On May 5, 2023, a plumber discovered that three chimneys on the roof of her building were covered with plastic bags. Two of them were no longer in use, the third served for her apartment. The woman was therefore at risk of CO poisoning. She immediately suspected that Mehmet A. was the perpetrator. During a search on May 17, bags of construction waste were found in his home and these were identical to the bags over the chimneys.
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The defendant initially denied. He later admitted that he had planted the bags, but not with the intention of killing his neighbor. Mehmet A. was struggling with a moisture problem in the communal wall. He thought the water was seeping in through the chimneys and therefore taped them up. He did not know that one of them was still in use by his neighbor.
The prosecutor did not believe that explanation and argued that an insurance expert had arrived on site in March and that the moisture damage was caused by the satellite dish that Mehmet A. had installed on the roof and for which he had drilled holes in the roof. The latter was denied by the defendant.
The court ruled on Wednesday that there remains reasonable doubt about the reason why Mehmet A. had closed the chimneys and acquitted him. The neighbor’s claim, who had requested 4,500 euros in moral damages, was rejected.