Boy (15) on trial in Netherlands over Facebook contract killing
A 15-YEAR-OLD boy has gone on trial for murder in the Netherlands for allegedly stabbing a 15-year-old girl to death in a €20 contract killing – after a row that started over comments posted on Facebook.
A court in Arnhem heard yesterday that the boy, known only as “Jinhua K”, had admitted stabbing to death the victim, Joyce “Winsie” Hau, and seriously injuring her father in the attack last January – when he was just 14 years old.
The details of the killing have shocked the country.
It followed an online argument that started relatively innocuously when the victim, Joyce Hau, apparently posted some derogatory comments about her friend, “Polly W”, on Facebook.
However, the row escalated and then simmered for a number of weeks before Polly W (16) and her boyfriend, “Wesley C” (17) allegedly hired Jinhua to kill their former friend.
According to a reconstruction of the extraordinary story for television crime programme EenVandaag, Jinhua was handed a note containing the name and address of his victim and the times when she could usually be found at home, where she lived with her parents.
He was allegedly paid €20 by the pair to carry out the killing; when he hesitated he was told that they would kill him instead if he did not go through with his side of the bargain.
During yesterday’s hearing, Jinhua, from Capelle aan den Ijssel, near Rotterdam, told the court that he was “enormously sorry” for the killing.
Court cases involving juveniles are usually held in closed session in the Netherlands.
A social worker and Jinhua’s lawyer argued for this case – which has become known in the Netherlands as “the Facebook murder trial” – to remain private.
However, a psychiatrist and a psychologist have both told the court that in their view a public hearing would not be detrimental to the accused – and this was accepted by the judges.
They said they had decided to hear the case in public because it was important that “society knows the facts” about the role played by social media in the case. This outweighed the normal entitlement to privacy.
Because of his young age, Jinhua faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, plus detention in a psychiatric institution for a period to be decided by the court. The judges will give their verdict on September 3rd.
The case against Polly W and her boyfriend, Wesley C, will be heard today after deciding whether they should be tried as juveniles or as adults.