Peter de Vries murder trial: Two suspects make first court appearance

Suspected gunman remains silent as suspected getaway driver denies involvement

Police outside the court during the first session in the case against the suspects in the murder of Peter R de Vries, in Amsterdam. Photograph: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/EPA

Police outside the court during the first session in the case against the suspects in the murder of Peter R de Vries, in Amsterdam. Photograph: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/EPA

 

One of the two men charged with the murder of Dutch investigative journalist Peter R de Vries denied all knowledge of the shooting when they made their first court appearance amid tight security in Amsterdam on Monday. The second defendant chose to remain silent.

Delano G (22) from Rotterdam and Kamil E (35), a Polish national who moved to the Netherlands early this year, are each charged with the murder of De Vries (64). The court heard that Delano G is believed to have been the gunman and Kamil E the getaway driver.

“In the eyes of the prosecution service, these are the two men who perpetrated the murder,” the panel of four judges was told.

De Vries, one of the country’s best-known journalists, made his name covering the kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken in 1983. He was shot five times at close range as he left the RTL TV studios in Amsterdam on July 6th.

He died in hospital nine days later with his family at his bedside.

The court heard he had been acting as an adviser to the main witness in the gangland murder trial known as the Marengo case, in which 17 defendants are accused of six drug-related murders and seven attempted murders between 2015 and 2017.

Prime suspect

The principal suspect in the Marengo case is Ridouan Taghi, the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal prior to his extradition from Dubai in 2019.

“It seems to us that the murder of Mr de Vries is related to his work,” the prosecution said.

De Vries’s children were in court to see his alleged killers for the first time and, as the hearing got under way, the presiding judge addressed them directly, telling them he knew the day would be “difficult and fraught” for them.

The judge also noted that the case would look only at who actually killed the veteran journalist – and not at who may have ordered the killing.

Addressing the court briefly through an interpreter, Kamil E denied any involvement in the shooting, declaring: “Your honour, I didn’t kill anyone. I knew nothing about the murder. I didn’t see any weapon.”

He said two men he had never seen before had provided a car and asked him to pick someone up in Amsterdam. “I asked if it was anything illegal but they just told me not to worry.”

The prosecution said the DNA of both suspects was found on a machine gun in the back of the getaway car.

The judges said there was enough evidence to keep both men in pre-trial detention. The substantive case is expected to be heard in May or June of next year.