Court asked to acquit man convicted of killing his girlfriend 22 years ago

The Public Prosecution Service has requested the acquittal on Monday of a man convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 2004, after concluding it was most likely the victim took her own life.

The case became known as the Rosmalense flat murder, named for the location where Regie van den Hoogen lived with her partner Rob B. Both had psychiatric issues.

B. was arrested shortly after reporting his girlfriend’s death to the police in 2000. The 34-year old woman’s throat had been sliced with a bread knife.

B., now 64, was convicted of the killing by the Den Bosch district court and, on appeal, sentenced to 10 years of compulsory psychiatric treatment (TBS). His TBS ended in 2017 but he still resides in a psychiatric clinic.

For the past two decades B. has maintained his innocence, claiming van den Hoogen died by suicide. Experts in the case testified that the cut mark was in the wrong direction for the right-handed woman and blood was found splattered on B.’s clothing.

‘Reasonable doubt’

In 2012, a group of students from the VU University in Amsterdam involved in the Gerede Twijfel project, or reasonable doubt project, began to look at the evidence in the case. The NRC asked the group to revisit their conclusions ten years on.

‘We asked dozens of people to demonstrate with a ruler how they would cut their throat, or how they would cut someone else’s throat. Everyone did it differently,’ one of the students, Danaé Stad, told the NRC.

In 2015, together with Peter van Kloppen, who leads the Gerede Twijfel project, Stad published a book about Van den Hoogen’s death called ‘Het likkende hondje’, or The Licking Dog. The title refers to the couple’s pet dog, Shadow, who had licked some of the blood at the scene.

New trial

B’s lawyer Pieter van der Kruijs submitted a request to the Supreme Court in 2016. Based on new conclusions by the Netherlands Forensic Institute, prosecutors are now convinced van den Hoogen’s death was a suicide.

’22 years have been taken from my life,’ Rob B. told the court in Arnhem on Monday morning. The proceedings have taken so long that his lawyer had retired and had to be sworn in again before he could appear at the hearing.

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