After a fortnight of confusion and bureaucratic manoeuvring, the public prosecutor in the Netherlands has agreed to try eight young Dutch men suspected of kicking a 27-year-old compatriot to death on the holiday island of Mallorca earlier this month.
Carlo Heuvelman from Waddingxveen, east of The Hague, was on holiday with four friends when police believe he was attacked by the group of eight on the beach at El Arenal, described locally as “a hotspot for young people”, about 16km from the capital Palma.
Some unconfirmed reports suggested that the two groups had met at a nightclub earlier on the evening of July 14th. One way or another, Spanish police said surveillance camera footage of the incident on the beach showed the assault on Heuvelman had been unprovoked.
Police also told local Mallorcan media that this was not the only assault believed to have been perpetrated by the Dutch group – aged between 18 and 20 – in the early hours of that morning after they were thrown out of a club and “went looking for trouble” along the beachfront.
That has since been confirmed by the Dutch prosecutor’s office which says it has been contacted by two other Dutch nationals claiming they were attacked by the same group in the early hours of the same morning. Their statements have been added to the file of evidence, a spokesperson said.
According to medical reports, Heuvelman was kicked repeatedly in the head while lying on the ground. He died from his injuries in a local hospital four days later. By then the other four members of his group had returned home.
The gang of eight also left Mallorca before they could be questioned by police. They left one young man behind to hand in the keys of their “luxury villa”. He was briefly arrested before police said they were satisfied he had not been involved.
All but one of the eight are believed to be from leafy Gooi, a cluster of affluent villages southeast of Amsterdam which is home to some of the country’s top-earning celebrities and businesspeople.
Since then the case has been mired in confusion. Initially, the Dutch authorities believed the eight would be extradited by the Spanish authorities and tried on Mallorca.
A Spanish investigating judge was appointed, but a week later European arrest warrants had still not been issued.
Then on Wednesday, the Spanish judge ruled that the investigation and prosecution should be carried out by Dutch authorities, without giving an explanation for that ruling.
“We will honour that request,” the Dutch prosecutor’s office confirmed.