suspect in the sights, but then also follows a conviction? – Groningen –

Which DNA evidence is there?

On the clothes of Nicky Verstappen, on his underwear and pajamas, 'suspicious traces' were found. About the nature of this material – is it about hair, semen or blood, about saliva, skin flakes? – Silence police and justice. According to the closely involved crime journalist Peter R. De Vries, these cards are 'held in check'. "If you say too much, you can make the suspect wiser, he can come up with a story."

Is that enough for the judge?

DNA alone is not sanctifying, experts, lawyers and De Vries say in unison. A hair, skin flakes, but also sperm or a splash of blood are not enough for a conviction. For example, DNA material can be moved, transferred from person to person, lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops explains: "If Mr. A uses a towel, Mr. B takes that towel and strangles Mr. C: then DNA from A can be linked. to the murder of C without being trapped. ''

What does justice have to the DNA match?

A lot of. DNA is often an important or even decisive building block in solving a murder or rape. The discovery of the unique human material often leads – as is now the case – to the main suspect. But more is needed. ,, It is a combination of factors '', says De Vries. ,, This man did not know Nicky, as far as we know. That only makes the track stronger. If, for example, it had been DNA from a camp supervisor, he could say: yes, I cleaned that tent, knocked the clothes off, and that is where DNA might end up. '' Strafpleiter Knoops warns: ,, You have to watch out for all too quick conclusions after a DNA match before you know the statement. The problem with the use of modern, sophisticated DNA techniques is the interpretation of these kinds of spores, where often little DNA has been obtained. ''

What else is going to play a role in this case?

The judge will want to see a number of things clarified. Brech was on August 12, 1998, the night after the discovery of Nicky's lifeless body, near the Brunssummerheide. There he is approached as 'accidental passer-by' by two marechaussees. As far as we know, he does not mention Nicky in a word. Given his DNA on the clothes of Verstappen that is strange. Brech does not show up at the calls for voluntary donation of DNA. That also raises questions. And then he left with the north sun. These are all choices that weigh, Peter R. De Vries thinks: ,, He has also been in contact with the police for a sexual offense before. And he has been silent all this time.

How is this going to continue?

If the suspect is caught, lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers also expects that he will not get away with it easily. "It looks ugly for him. His DNA is on the clothes and he did not say anything about Nicky the night after the discovery, when he was at the crime scene. "De Vries:" It will be very difficult for him, but it is never a course. That's what I keep Nicky's parents for. Now it is a question of good 'withdrawal'. A confession of this man would help enormously. "But then Brech must first be traced. De Vries trusts that it works: ,, Until Wednesday was sought in relative silence, that is now open and exposed. We hope that tourists or others see photos and think: that man I have seen. ''

'This is evidence that compulsory DNA collection is unnecessary'

The House of Representatives does not think much of making DNA collection compulsory in large police investigations. A breakthrough as in the case around Nicky Verstappen proves especially that such a duty is not necessary, it sounds.

Minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Security) suggested this week that there should be 'a discussion' about whether the Dutch should not be obliged to take part in large-scale kinship studies. Such a research eventually led to a breakthrough in the search for the killer of Nicky Verstappen. However, a substantial proportion, one-third, of the individuals from whom DNA was requested did not comply with the call to donate DNA voluntarily.

Many parties in the Lower House are obliged to go too far, only the CDA is there for. VVD member Arno Rutte has reservations. ,, You encounter a lot of privacy issues and the right to physical integrity. We first have to take a good look at that. "PVV Lilian Helder is also involved still too far. "Many people will have nothing to hide, but you still transfer a very personal possession, your DNA, to strangers." "The SP also wonders whether it is necessary. ,, In the case of Nicky Verstappen, where there was no obligation, the breakthrough came. So that seems to be just another proof, even after the Marianne Vaatstra case, that a duty is superfluous. ''

The call from Grapperhaus to discussion even raised the question yesterday whether there should be no national DNA database with the cell material of all Dutch people. But both the minister and the Lower House are still far away from this. Recently there were note violent Discussions about whether the DNA of suspects may be included in a database by default. This only now happens with convicts in the heavier cases.

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