NL – 65-year-old Peter P. from Utrecht appeared in court on Thursday on charges of manslaughter for the death of his wife Durdana on their yacht Lazy Duck off the coast of Colombia in September 2015. The man insists that he is innocent and that his wife was killed by pirates who came onto the yacht to rob them, according to AD reporter Casper van Oirschot tweeting live from the courtroom.
Duranda van de Bruijn from Heino was killed on the couple’s yacht near Isla Granda, one of the Rosario islands in Colombia, on 19 September 2015. She was strangled to death and had wounds on her head that she likely sustained pre-death, pathologists in both Colombia and the Netherlands concluded.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) made agreements with Colombia to prosecute P. in the Netherlands.
The court asked P. to give his account of what happened. “I was sitting on the toilet and I heard Duranda scream. I got up, opened the door, but someone was standing there and pushed me back onto the toilet.” According to P. he was held in the toilet by two pirates for an unknown time. He said he tried to pull one of their masks off, but the pirate bit him – explaining a bite wound he had on his hand.
“They came with a rope, tied my hands and feet, and closed the door,” P. said in court. “After some time I managed to free myself. Durdana lay in the kitchen with a towel around her head. I took the towel off her head and saw that she was blue and she had a small wound above her head.” He started CPR, he said, but it was to no avail.
The authorities raised some doubts about P.’s version of events. P. now says that he only saw two pirates, but initially told Colombian police that there were six – one without a mask, and five with masks. The OM is also doubtful about P.’s claim that all he heard was his wife screaming once, despite the toilet door being open and the boat being relatively small.
After the alleged robbery, the only items that were missing were Durdana’s bag and camera. Other cameras, jewelry, diving equipment, navigation systems and other valuable items were left behind. The Colombian police also noted that P. searched the terms “fell” and “bruises” on his phone days before his wife’s death. The authorities also found a backpack and some of Durdana’s clothes piled onto the bed on the yacht, raising the impression that she wanted to leave the boat.
Trace evidence investigation done on the yacht by the Colombian police found no DNA that did not belong to P. or Durdana, and no footprints that couldn’t be linked to either of them. They also found a bloody shirt in the yacht’s bathroom, which had Durdana’s blood and a bit of P.’s blood on it. They found no sign of other parties being on the yacht.