Jealous girlfriend gets revenge by snipping cords
By Dahlia Belinsky
After a four-month long trial, Belgian citizen Els Clottemans has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering her love rival, Els Van Doren, by sabotaging her parachute, causing her to free fall from 1,000 metres.
Van Doren died in Nov. 2006. After both her parachutes failed to open, she crashed in a garden in Opglabbeek, a village in eastern Belgium.
When her and two other parachutists jumped from the plane and separated, Van Doren was unable to open her parachute. “She tried to open the reserve parachute, but it wouldn’t open. That never happens,” Luc Deijgers, who piloted the parachuter’s plane said, the BBC reported.
The death was caught on film by her own video camera, attached to the front of her helmet. The video only stopped recording when she reached impact.
Van Doren, a married mother of two, was having an affair with Marcel Somers who, at the time, was in a relationship with Clottemans.
According to CBC, Clottemans became one of the main suspects a month after Van Doren’s death, when Clottemans attempted suicide right before she was expected to make a statement to the police.
One week before Van Doren died, herself, Clottemans, and Somers stayed at Somers’ house. During that time Van Doren and Somers shared a bed while Clottemans was forced to sleep elsewhere in the house.
According to the BBC, investigators said this would have been the perfect opportunity for Clottemans to cut the strings of Van Doren’s parachute. Experts confirmed that sabotaging the parachute would only take 30 seconds to do.
Clottemans was arrested in Jan 2007, after investigators discovered that Van Doren’s cords were cut.
There was no forensic evidence against Clottemans, it was mostly circumstantial, Jonty Bloom of the BBC reported.
The jury based their decision on the fact that Clottemans had the opportunity and knowledge to tamper with Van Doren’s parachute. Clottemans also had a motive as she knew that the victim was in relationship with Somers at the same time as herself.
Investigators also believe that Clottemans wrote an anonymous letter to Van Doren and was making anonymous phone calls as well, according to BBC.
Despite the prosecution asking that Clottemans be sentenced life in prison, she was given 30 years.
Clottemans continually denied all the charges against her.