Five men released in suspected case of vigilante killing in Assen

Police cordon at the Haaksbergen crash site

Police cordon at the Haaksbergen crash sitePolice in Assen have released five men arrested on Saturday in connection with the death of a man said to have molested a four-year-old girl.

The five, aged between 27 and 54, were picked up after an ‘altercation’ with the man at a playground in the district of Peelo, during which he died.

The death at first appeared to be vigilante-related but police now say the five, who include the girl’s father, had not attacked the man.

A post mortem on Monday will determine exactly why he died.

Reports of what happened on Saturday are confused, but it now appears the girl’s father spoke to the man accused of molesting the girl and tried to stop him from cycling off. Both fell over in the struggle.

Four other men, all from Assen, then joined in to stop the suspect from leaving until the police came. Despite efforts to revive him, he had died, police said. Specialist detectives are now questioning the girl to find out what happened in the playground.

Dutch media say the man was a 32-year-old deaf mute who works as a gardener. His colleagues told the AD they did not believe the man had molested a child. ‘He was a decent young man who had not let his handicap get in the way,’ one fellow gardener told the AD.

Assen mayor Marco Out told NOS news on Sunday that ‘something terrible’ had happened. ‘A possible sex crime, someone dies, this has had an enormous impact on everyone who witnessed what happened and the man’s own immediate environment.’

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