NOS News•yesterday, 22:32
Tomorrow the court in Arnhem will decide whether there was a miscarriage of justice in the Rosmalense ‘flat murder’. It is expected that this was indeed the case. Two investigators and a lawyer look ahead.
In that case, the now 64-year-old Rob B. was sentenced to TBS with compulsory treatment for the murder of his girlfriend in 2000. Both B. and his girlfriend suffered from psychological problems in 2000.
In 2015, researchers from the Reasonable Doubt project at the Free University (VU) Amsterdam concluded that suicide was the most likely scenario, not murder. The Supreme Court had the case re-examined, after which the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) concluded that the woman most likely killed herself. Last month, the Public Prosecution Service asked for an acquittal.
Blood splatter pattern
“In fact, things immediately stood out, such as experts who did not seem completely independent of each other,” says Karlijn Cox, one of the former researchers at the VU. “It seemed like tunnel vision, aiming to put everything into the scenario that Rob was guilty of murdering his girlfriend.” For example, B. was arrested one and a half hours after the body was found. “On the evidence that was there at the time, he should never have been convicted.”
Two elements played an important role: the pattern of blood spatter and the way the victim’s throat had been cut. “The evidence could also be explained for the scenario that he was innocent and that there was therefore a case of suicide,” says the other researcher Danaé Stad.
The man had no reasonable motive to kill his girlfriend, says lawyer Pieter van der Kruijs. The lawyer had actually already retired for a few years, but especially for this case he was sworn in again.
“She was his great love, he wanted to grow old with her. On the day in question he had said that he was so happy with her. He already has the loss anyway, and that you get this pushed into your shoes, that is not to have.”
The judges did not believe B. from the start, says Van der Kruijs. “I thought that was very tragic. Every time he was interrogated, for hours. And when he got angry once, that anger was proof of his aggressiveness.”
The judiciary was not impartial, says the lawyer. “I asked to have experts look at him, but that was all rejected. They had their idea. They assumed a perpetrator, not the other scenario.”
‘Given its rightful place’
Van der Kruijs hopes that if the miscarriage of justice is established, Rob B. will quickly receive compensation. “Then he can buy a house and buy 24-hour care.” B. currently lives in a mental health institution.
“He will never get the years back, but he would like to hear from the judges and the people at the Public Prosecution Service themselves that they have seen this wrong. He finds the recognition of people who did this to him important.”
Former researcher Karlijn Cox hopes that B.’s name will be reinstated. “And that he can give it a place with his family.”