Door: Remi Mesu

MIDDELBURG – The judge has sentenced five men to prison terms of between 4.5 and 5 years for co-perpetrating the robbery of the daily revenue of the Hrieps music festival. The men also have to pay compensation of almost 370 thousand euros. The sixth suspect in this case has been acquitted.

The theft happened on Sunday 12 May 2019 in a house in Grijpskerke. While a 73-year-old woman and her granddaughter were sleeping, a paving stone was thrown through the front door window. Then three masked men, including one with a stick, entered the house. After the woman was threateningly asked where the money was, the cash daily proceeds from the Hrieps festival were taken away.

Although only three men broke into the house, according to the court, several people were involved in the theft. The court could not determine with certainty exactly what role the various suspects had. It would be clear, however, that there has been a close and conscious collaboration between the five men who were convicted.

According to the judge, the theft took place according to a pre-made plan, which everyone was aware of. In the joint plan, mutual coordination between the suspects was crucial. For that reason, the five men are all convicted of complicity in the theft accompanied by threats of violence.

Although five suspects have been convicted of the same offence, the court has imposed different sentences. For example, one suspect was sentenced to 5 years in prison, three suspects were sentenced to 4 years and 10 months and the last suspect was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months. The difference in the penalty would be due to a fairly significant exceeding of the reasonable term in 3 out of 5 cases.

As a result, a sentence reduction of 2 months has been applied. One suspect also had no recent, relevant criminal record, which resulted in a lower sentence. All five suspects are also responsible for paying compensation of almost 370 thousand euros. The amount includes, among other things, an intangible compensation of 2000 euros to the woman and a material compensation of 362,980 euros. The estimated stolen daily revenue from the Hrieps festival.

In addition to the five convictions, a 50-year-old man has been acquitted. He was suspected of counting, dividing and securing the loot along with others. Although according to the court there are facts and circumstances that indicate his involvement, there is insufficient evidence for this. For that reason, his case will be acquitted.

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