A man who kept his dead mother in a box at his home for 2.5 years has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and ordered to repay pension payments of some €15,500.
Appeal court judges in Den Bosch ruled that the 66-year-old man from Limburg should be jailed for keeping the body of his mother so he could continue to live off her pension and other benefits. In total, he enjoyed some €50,000 which he was not entitled to, the court was told.
She died an apparently natural death at the age of 91 in 2013. Piet van der M then wrapped the body in plastic and sealed it into a clothes cupboard which he had turned into a makeshift coffin.
He kept the coffin in a separate room, using flowers to mask the smell of decomposition and opening the window at night. Police found the body in 2015.
In a police statement, Van der M said that his mother had told him to keep her death secret so that he could afford to pay for the family cats and keep living in the same house.
‘We were both cat lovers and if I had welfare benefits I would have had to get rid of them,’ he said. ‘I’m also a vegan… that is expensive and I would not have been able to continue. I would have also had to get rid of my car.’
The court described the case as a ‘bizarre collection of facts’ but said Van der M appeared to be rational and intelligent. ‘He is a bit of a loner with few social contacts,’ a report by the probation service said.
Van der M has said he will appeal against the sentence.
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