Belgian skydiver on trial for murder

September 24, 2010 12:00 am

, BRUSSELS, Sep 24 – A young Belgian schoolteacher went on trial for murder Friday, accused of killing her rival in a skydiving love-triangle by sabotaging her parachute.

Els Clottemans, 26, is standing jury trial in the northeast town of Tongres for four weeks for the death of 38-year-old Els Van Doren, the wife of a jeweller who shared a passion with the suspect for skydiving, as well as for the same man, Marcel Somers.

The trial caps the November 18, 2006 death of Van Dorens, a mother of three and experienced skydiver who plunged to her death in a garden when her parachute failed to open.

Investigators said both of Van Doren\’s parachutes had been interfered with and that two straps were cut.

On the day of the accident, 12 skydivers boarded a Cessna and both women along with Somers and another man were supposed to join together in the air but Clottemans jumped too late, leaving the others to form a trio.

But when the three separated and opened their parachutes, Van Doren\’s failed to open.

Police arrested Clottemans soon after, in January 2007, saying she had been staying with her lover a week before the fatal jump when Van Doren too showed up.

Investigators said Somers spent the night with the latter, throwing the younger woman out of his room and forcing her to sleep on a mattress in the living room, where Van Doren had left her parachute.

Clottemans has denied messing with the parachute and says investigators were blinded by the belief she acted out of jealousy. She says there is no proof, no witnesses and no confession to bear out the charge.


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