‘Must have been a confused person’

‘Must have been a confused person’
‘Must have been a confused person’

The Netherlands has an increasing number of people who exhibit confused behavior, as is evident from the new documentary series Confused by Jessica Villerius. While 100,000 reports were made in 2019, five years later that number increased to 140,000. In the first episode, Villerius looks back with the son of former minister Els Borst on the murder of his mother by the confused Bart van U.

Besides Bart van U., there are plenty of examples of confused people who ultimately commit murder. For example, Kenzo K. shot two more people in 2021 and shot around with a crossbow. Last year, John S. was sentenced to life in prison after he killed a man in Zeeland and murdered two people on a care farm in Alblasserdam.

Son immediately thought of a confused person as the perpetrator

Although it remained unclear for a long time who was behind the murder of Els Borst in 2014, it was immediately clear to son Dirk Borst that a confused person should be the perpetrator, he says in the series. “We couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to harm our mother. She was a very amiable, kind, sweet person who had long since retired. Why would anyone want to kill her? We immediately thought: that must have been a confused person.”

The increase is also noticeable in court, says court reporter Saskia Belleman. “I encounter a lot of people with confused behavior in court. Actually more and more.”

Cutbacks in healthcare

“In the case of the crossbowman in Almelo, the lawyer also said very clearly: ‘The fact that this gentleman is sitting here in the suspect box is a consequence of cutbacks within healthcare. If these cuts had not been made, if this policy had not been in place, there might have been better care and it would never have gotten to this point.’ These are stories that I unfortunately hear more and more often in courts,” says Belleman.

Family advocated for treatment for years

The above-mentioned persons were already known to the GGZ before committing the crimes, just like Bart van U., who, in addition to Els Borst, murdered his own sister a year later. Only then does Van U. come into the picture as a suspect. “We also contacted Bart van U’s parents,” says Dirk Borst. “Then we heard little by little that they had been concerned about him for a long time, that they had been trying to get him treated or admitted for a long time. That he had been confused for a long time.”

As a report would later reveal, an endless chain of blunders prevented timely intervention. “We have been invited a number of times by the Public Prosecution Service, and even by the Minister of Justice. They have all apologized profusely to us,” Borst explains. “We always said: ‘Be sure to visit Bart’s family. They were actually hit much harder than we were. They have lost a child and now also lost Bart, even though they have been raising the alarm all along.”

Legislation hinders help for confused person

The fact that things are still going wrong is mainly due to privacy legislation, Villerius explained a day earlier Beau already out. “You end up in a kind of jungle of privacy legislation. If I report you (Beau van Erven Dorens, ed.), a psychiatrist says: ‘That’s an adult man, I can’t talk to you about that.’”

Moreover, there is a lack of long-term overview, says Villerius. “No one wants or can be the problem owner, no one monitors that big picture. People also get lost in healthcare.”

You watch the documentary Confused via NPO Start.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: confused person


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