By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 25th 2011)
Before police investigating the rape and murder of Nienke Kleiss and attempted murder of Maikel Willebrand ‘discovered’ Kees Borsboom as a suspect, they believed that Willebrand was lying. The children had been playing in Beatrix Park in Schiedam. They were viciously attacked by a man. Kleiss tried to fight back, but the ten-year-old girl was no match for a homicidal Wik Haalmeijer.
Nor was the eleven-year-old Willebrand. He played dead and waited for Haalmeijer to go. Eventually he did and Willebrand sought help, which he received from passing cyclist Kees Borsboom – the man who called the police. The police did not believe Willebrand. The survivor – the crucial witness – was treated as their prime suspect. They thought that he had been too smart by playing dead.
His account did not fit the case-scenario that they had developed – a ridiculous one – so they thought that he was the perpetrator. It was absurd on every level. Willebrand was a child. There was no evidence that he had attacked his friend and there was clear scientific evidence that proved that someone else had been involved.
It was even thought by police that his injuries were self-inflicted. But then a coincidence occurred. Police discovered that their star witness Borsboom had exposed himself to a child – the child of a police officer. They decided that could not be coincidence. He becomes their prime suspect, but it was exactly that – a coincidence – a wretched one at that.
The survivor was to all intents and purposes a defence witness, but Willebrand was marginalised. The surviving victim and therefore a key witness did not support the case hypothesis. Rather than admit that the hypothesis was the nonsense that it was subsequently proved to be, the victim/witness was marginalised and Borsboom was convicted in nearby Rotterdam.
Borsboom subsequently lost his appeal, but this was not the end of the story. Despite the indisputable evidence of innocence, he could have maintained his innocence to his dying day without being believed. It required a miracle and unusually it got one.
Both he and Willebrand would be vindicated by it. Wik Haalmeijer was arrested for two unconnected rapes. He not only admitted to those offences, but confessed to the Schiedammer Park crimes and insisted on DNA tests to prove his guilt. Nothing would induce him to withdraw his request. The DNA testing proved his guilt and also Borsboom’s innocence.