The court in Leeuwarden on Friday acquitted 45-year-old Hans O. of the murder of Ralf Meinema in 2017. The Public Prosecution Service demanded another 20 years in prison against the Emmen resident at the end of November. According to the court, it has not been established that Hans O. had a role in the premeditated killing of 31-year-old Ralf Meinema from Klazienaveen on March 30 or 31, 2017. There is also no sufficient evidence for complicity.
In the early morning of March 31, 2017, the victim’s body was found in the trunk of his car, which was hanging over the edge of the Stieltjeskanaal near Coevorden. The victim appeared to have been killed with brutal violence in the night of March 30 to 31.
The court notes that much remains unclear in the case, such as the precise time of the victim’s death, the location where Meinema was killed and under what circumstances the deprivation of life took place.
Hans O. stated that he saw Meinema twice on March 30, 2017, at the beginning of the evening and later in the evening. Both times they reportedly shook hands and O. also sat in Meinema’s car. According to O., the victim allegedly offered him “forbidden trade” at the time, but the delivery ultimately did not materialize. O. does not want to say what deal he had with Meinema on the evening before the murder. Well, it was about drugs. The suspect: ‘And not about weed.’
Anonymous threatened witness
According to the court, the statement of an anonymous threatened witness is the only direct and decisive evidence that points to direct involvement of Hans O. in the death of Ralf Meinema. The court considers the statement of this witness to be reliable, but notes that the supporting evidence required by law and case law for this statement is lacking.
According to the court, DNA evidence, witness statements and telephone contacts between the suspect and the victim, among other things, do not provide sufficient supporting evidence.
The court rules that the criminal file does not contain sufficient legal evidence to prove the accusation. The court therefore acquits Hans O. in the so-called ‘trunk murder’.
Hans O. was acquitted by the court in May 2022, after the Public Prosecution Service had demanded 18 years in prison. In June 2022, the Public Prosecution Service dismissed the case against two other suspects, Kenny B. and Harm O., due to a lack of evidence.
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