Span of killings
August 13, 1941 (age 82) (
November 12, 2001
6 willem van eijk er moet een jeu de boulespleintje voor ouderen komen
- 6 willem van eijk er moet een jeu de boulespleintje voor ouderen komen
- Possible victims
- Trial and sentence
Willem van Eijk was born in 1941 in the small village of Korteraar, South Holland. During his time at an elementary school in Ter Aar he was an outcast and referred to as "Gekke Willempje" (Crazy little William), something he later used to justify his actions. During this time of extreme bullying, Willem started to collect morbid items, such as dead bugs and frogs. He soon gained notoriety in his home village for his cruelty towards animals; especially dogs, cats, and ducks. Still a loner when attending high school, Van Eijk committed petty crimes. During this time he started to dream about raping and killing women.
In 1975, Van Eijk was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and TBS. The details of the murders, as revealed during the trial, were so horrifying that several judiciary guards vomited. Psychiatric reports explained that Van Eijk had severe childhood trauma as a result of bullying and rejection by women. During his therapy at the Van Mesdagkliniek, psychiatrists speculated that his deviant behavior was the result of brain damage sustained during his birth. In 1980, while still in remand, he married his penfriend Adri. In 1990 he was released and together they moved into a house in Harkstede. Psychiatrists believed that his relationship with Adri would prevent him from reoffending, but warned that subsequent female rejections could trigger a relapse. The relationship turned out to be a downward spiral for Van Eijk.
Between his release and his second arrest there were eight prostitutes, and several other young women murdered in and around the area of Van Eijk's residence. In 1997, Van Eijk was a suspect for the murder of Anne de Ruyter de Wildt, and in 2000 for the murder of Marianne Vaatstra; however, DNA tests proved his innocence in these cases. Several years later both murderers of these two women were caught.
Because Schenker's clothes were found near Van Eijk's house, he became a prime suspect and on 12 November 2001, police arrested Van Eijk. He soon confessed to the murders of Michelle Fatol, Annelies Reinders, and Sasja Schenker. Police also suspected him of the murders of Shirley Hereijgers, Antoinnette Bont, and Jolanda Meijer; however, Van Eijk did not confess to those, and there was no concrete evidence for his involvement. The ground around his house was excavated; however, there were no bodies found. As of 2013, Jolanda Meijer is still missing.
Between 1993 and 2001, several other bodies were found. In 1995, the torso of 24-year-old prostitute Antoinette Bont was found in the Winschoterdiep. Other body parts were later found in a sports bag. Two years later, in 1997, the body of 19-year-old prostitute Shirley Hereijgers was found. Around the same time, Jolanda Meijer (35), Hereijger's friend and colleague also disappeared. Several other men were suspected of these killings, but all turned out to be innocent. Willem van Eijk never confessed to killing these women, however, it is publicly believed he is responsible.
Trial and sentence
At the start of the trial Van Eijk was represented by lawyer Willem Anker, much to the astonishment of the relatives of Shirley Hereijgers, as Willem Anker also represented them. When Van Eijk officially declared a suspect in murdering Shirley, Willem Anker dropped his client. After going through a series of other lawyers, Van Eijk was sentenced, on 7 November 2002, to life imprisonment for the murder of the last three victims. Van Eijk appealed, but the Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld the ruling. Van Eijk several times requested clemency, which in the Netherlands can only be given by the head of state, and all of the requests were denied.