P. and his wife (54) were on a world tour on their yacht ‘Lazy Duck’ in September 2015. On that evening, P. raised the alarm and reported that his wife was dead on board the ship, which was moored at the time in a bay off the Colombian island of Isla Grande. He told Colombian police that he and his wife had been raided by masked men. P. would have been on the toilet at that time. He says he was assaulted. When the robbers had left, he saw his wife lying lifeless in the cabin.
“I was in the toilet when two men with masks came in. I heard Durdana screaming just before that happened. I could not get to my wife, two perpetrators held me there. I tried to resist, pulled on a mask but got bitten on my hand. I had to let go and he grabbed me by the throat. I thought: it’s over. They’ll do it, I’m done with it, ”said P.
Colombian authorities questioned the man’s story. The Dutch judiciary, which has taken over the prosecution from Colombia, is also doing that. The OM does not find the pirate scenario plausible. For example, the Colombian investigation showed that only traces of the couple were found on board and not of a possible robber. Nobody in the area has noticed anything else of a robbery. Investigations have shown that attempts have been made to cover tracks and the body is said to have been dragged from the bathroom to the deck. Islanders also claim that the couple had a big fight.
The court established that P. has adjusted his statement a few times, but that he has been consistent in essential parts. The court found, among other things, forensic evidence confirming P.’s story. It also considers P.’s statement to be ‘authentic’ on a number of points. A motive has remained invisible from the outset, the court stated. P. and his wife were in a loving relationship, there was no evidence of conflict, and P. was known for being anything but violent.
The OM had put forward as suspicious elements that the robbers had only taken a limited amount of loot and that they had left no traces. The court refuted those objections. A robbery does not always go as planned and many of the valuables on board the yacht were heavy, built-in or hard to find. A trace has been found in the toilet that suggests that others have been on the ship. The court also noted that there have been several robberies in the region, including on a sailing yacht. Even then the loot was limited.
P. and his loved ones heard the verdict silently and with restrained emotion.
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Lawyer Vink with client Peter P. Friday.
Ⓒ Petra Urban
‘Mama brought warmth’
P.’s family has always believed in the innocence of the man. “It hurts that Daddy misses Mommy. Mama brought warmth to our lives, and joy ”, son Roderik told the court earlier.
P. called the eight-year sentence “a big shock.” “I could not have imagined that in my wildest dreams. All this ruined my life. It was bad enough that I had lost Durdana. I didn’t do it, and from moment one I tried to convey everything clearly. ”