Nicky Verstappen’s killer sentenced to 16 years in jail on appeal

Nicky Verstappen's parents listen to the verdict. Photo: Remko de Wal ANP
Nicky Verstappen’s parents listen to the verdict. Photo: Remko de Wal ANP

Appeal court judges in Den Bosch have sentenced Jos Brech to 16 years in jail for the kidnapping, manslaughter and sexual abuse of Nicky Verstappen, the 11-year-old boy taken from a tent at a campsite in 1998.

The court said it had also taken into account the parent’s wait of more than 20 years to find out what had happened to their child in imposing the longer sentence. In addition, the fact that Jos Brech had never showed any remorse for the death also played a role. Brech has always denied the charges.

In November 2020, a lower court sentenced Brech to 12.5 years in jail for abusing and kidnapping the boy, which resulted in his death, but found him not guilty of manslaughter.

The public prosecution department had called for a 20 year sentence.

Nicky disappeared from a summer camp on the Brunssummerheide, Limburg on August 10, 1998 and his body was found the next day over a kilometre away.

The case was unsolved for 20 years until a mass DNA profiling exercise in 2018 linked Brech to the crime via family members. Prosecutors say 27 traces of DNA on Nicky’s body and clothing match the suspect’s profile.

The development led to a Europe-wide search for Brech, who had been reported missing by his family in April 2018. He was tracked down to a remote area outside Barcelona where he was living in the wild, arrested and extradited to face charges.

Brech was also found guilty of possessing child pornography.

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