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Commission: Clinic should have reported earlier in Thijs H. case NOW

Treatment staff of Thijs H., the man who is being prosecuted for the death mark of three walkers in Scheveningen and Heerlen, should have made a report or report it to the police or the judicial authorities. That is the conclusion of an independent committee that, at the request of the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ), carried out research into the treatment of H. at the Mondriaan mental health clinic in Maastricht. The inspection writes about this in a letter.

Two people were killed on 7 May 2019 at Brunssummerheide in Heerlen. H. voluntarily reported to the clinic after the murders, after which staff placed him in the closed ward because he had blood on his clothing and told that he had been in the nature reserve.

That same evening H. escaped from the clinic, but he was brought back by his parents a few hours later. According to the committee of inquiry, then there was a suspicion among his practitioners and on-duty psychiatrist that he was involved in the stabbing incidents.

Despite these suspicions, the clinic did not ring a bell with the police or the judicial authorities upon his admission and his escape. The following morning (May 8), when H. escaped from the clinic for the second time, was the Public Prosecution Service (OM) informed and professional secrecy broken.

According to the committee of inquiry, the clinic should have contacted the police or the judiciary when he was admitted to H. and after his first escape. However, the IGJ cannot endorse this conclusion because there is “no legal obligation for a health care provider to break a professional secrecy”.

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‘Suspicion of involvement in a crime does not automatically lead to a report’

The board of directors of the Mondriaan clinic responded to this conclusion by the committee of inquiry in a letter to the IGJ. According to the board of directors “a serious suspicion of involvement in a very serious crime of life does not automatically mean a danger for patients, fellow patients and / or employees” and therefore professional secrecy is not immediately broken.

However, the committee of inquiry concludes that the safety for the patient and society was insufficiently guaranteed. The IGJ acknowledges this difference of opinion between the committee and the board of directors and writes that it “can in itself follow the position of the board of directors”, but considers it important that adequate security measures are taken upon admission.

The Inspectorate concludes from the committee’s report that these measures were “apparently insufficient”. This is mainly due to the fact that H. was able to escape twice.

Parts of the letter are painted black for privacy reasons

The conclusions of the researchers are not all easy to read in the letter, because many parts have been painted black for privacy reasons. The Committee does state, however, that H.’s diagnosis was performed adequately and the diagnosis was made carefully.

The following conclusion, many of which cannot be read, states that the committee of inquiry wonders whether the practitioners have inquired sufficiently specifically for H. This is because they have told the researchers that they may have been “misled”. Whether this is about the diagnosis made for H. is not clear.

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No further sanctions are imposed on the clinic based on the results of the investigation into the admission of H.


The police are investigating H.’s house in The Hague. (Photo: Regio15)

Pieter Baan Center: ‘H. was completely unaccountable ‘

The case against H. started last summer. During the first session, H. confessed to the three murders – the two hikers on the heath and a woman in Scheveningen on 4 May – and said that around that time there was a psychosis.

Experts from the Pieter Baan Center (PBC) found in December that H. was completely unaccountable. The man would certainly have had delusions and other psychotic symptoms for at least a year. The OM then announced that it wanted to include more interrogations to find out whether H. actually suffered from a psychosis in May.

The case will continue on Monday 16 March.

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