Youth club faces €10,000 fine after drunk 15-year-old is killed by car

A youth club in the village of Guttencoven near Sittard in Limburg may have to pay €10,000 to an anti-drinking foundation for allowing a 15-year-old boy who was killed while walking home to drink alcohol. Max a Campo should never have been allowed to drink at the club and officials should therefore hand over €10,000 to the Stichting Jeugd and Alcohol foundation, the public prosecutor said at a court hearing on Tuesday, local broadcaster 1Limburg reported. The boy's death was an accident but would have been prevented if the right people had acted responsibly, the department said. The youth had drunk five half-litres of beer at the 't Waeske youth club and was hit by a car on the A2 motorway as he walked home. His mother told the court that adults at the club had not intervened to help the boy, even after he vomited. 'He had lost his way in more ways than one on the first night he had gone out,' she said. The club board told the court that alcohol was sometimes given to minors but that there had never been problems before. Since the accident, the board said, the rules have been toughened up. It is illegal in the Netherlands for the under-18s to consume alcohol in cafes and bars or on the street. The youth club, founded in 1964, is open to midnight on Wednesday and Friday evenings, according to the website. Guttencoven is a village of just 1,300 people.  More >

Employed SGP chief claims jobless benefit

The new chairman of the fundamentalist Christian party SGP has been claiming the special civil service unemployment benefit alongside his salary for 12 years, the Volkskrant reported on Friday. Peter Zevenbergen is the paid director of a college in Rotterdam but his salary is below his earnings as an alderman in Alblasserdam, a post he held up to 2006. This means, by law, that he can claim the difference from the taxpayer. The 62-year-old currently claims €1,450 extra a month from Alblasserdam council under the wachtgeld system and can continue to claim this amount until he retires, the paper said. He was entitled to such a generous package because he was alderman for 10 years and was over the age of 50. The question was raised in Alblasserdam council four years ago and the mayor made a moral appeal to Zevenbergen to stop the claims, the Volkskrant says. But the SGP chairman says on the party's website that he is acting 'in line with the letter and the spirit of the wachtgeld ruling'. Phasing out or stopping the extra payments now is not an option because the rules mean he would have to pay back the entire amount, the statement said. Nevertheless, he has now asked independent experts to look into the issue. Benefits MPs, ministers and local council officials who lose their job are entitled to 80% of their salary for one year under the wachtgeld system. Subsequent payments which can last up to retirement age, are made at the 70% rate. Former politicians who get a job which does not pay as much as being an MP, alderman or minister can claim top-up benefits, as Zevenberg has done. In May it emerged that one former MP has been claiming benefits for over 16 years while one former junior minister has been given €465,000 in payments over five years. In total 178 MPs, 18 ministers and 15 junior ministers had claimed wachtgeld, over the past five years, averaging €93,000 each.  More >

Schiphol flights cancelled due to storm

Schiphol airport is warning passengers that flights will be delayed or cancelled on Friday because of a westerly storm. Dutch flag carrier KLM said on Thursday evening it had cancelled 100 return flights as a precaution, after the KNMI weather bureau issued a code yellow weather warning for the west of the country. 'We know now that not all the flights will go ahead,' a spokesman told broadcaster NOS on Thursday evening. The cancelled flights are for European destinations and passengers will be booked on other flights, the spokesman said. The KNMI expects winds of up to 85 kph to batter the mainland on Friday morning, but says they will be stronger over the Wadden Sea area.   More >

No confession in Nicky Verstappen case

The man suspected of killing 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen 20 years ago and arrested after new techniques gave a dna match, has not confessed to the crime, his lawyer told judges in Maastricht on Monday. ‘If he had made a confession, we would be having a completely different conversation,’ lawyer Gerald Roethof told a remand hearing on Thursday. Roethof told the court that the public prosecution department does not have sufficient evidence to convict his client. Roethof told RTL Nieuws earlier this week that the dna evidence against Brech is weak. ‘We have to be very careful about the dna and drawing conclusions based on it,’ he said. As well as Brech’s dna, traces from five other people were also found on the boy and there is no blood or sperm link, Roethof said. Brech was arrested in Spain at the end of last month. He was identified via a mass dna testing, launching a Europe-wide hunt. Nicky Verstappen was murdered on a campsite in Limburg in July 1998.  More >

Four children killed on railway crossing

Four children, three thought to be from the same family, have been killed when a train hit an electric cargo bike at a manned level crossing in Oss. Another child and an adult were badly injured in the accident, police said. The children were being taken from their 'before school' daycare centre to school when, eyewitnesses say, the vehicle, known as a stint or a bolderkar in Dutch, drove through the level crossing barriers. According to some eyewitnesses, it appeared as if the brakes had failed. The accident happened shortly after 8.30am and was witnessed by several people, including children. The prime minister, queen Maxima and other politicians have expressed their horror at the accident and sent their condolences to the family and friends of those who died. Officials in Oss are holding a news conference at 1am. In July, the Dutch safety board slammed the ‘unacceptable’ way an average of 11 people are killed in accidents on railway level crossings every year. It said the fragmented approach and lack of focus at the infrastructure ministry are stalling efforts to improve safety at crossings. The Netherlands is the only country within the EU where so many roads cross so many railways, the OVV said. ‘This is not a good combination.’  More >