Trial of serial killer Stephaan Du Lion launches in Belgium
The trial of Belgian serial killer Stephaan Du Lion (58) was launched Friday morning at the Antwerp assize court. The window cleaner from Deurne is on trial for the murders of Ariane Mazijn (30) in 1992, Lutgarda Bogaerts (28) in 1993, Maria Van den Reeck (46) in 1994 and Eve Poppe (38) in 1997. He was not caught until after a DNA match in 2018. The 50-year-old confessed to the murders but cannot remember all the details.
Stephaan Du Lion was arrested in October 2018 for the murder of Ariane Mazijn. Her boyfriend found her body in the bedroom of her apartment in Antwerp on June 17, 1992. She was strangled with an electrical cord and was stabbed seven times in the chest and abdomen.
A trace of semen was found on the inside of her thighs, which was matched with Du Lion's DNA 25 years later. The DNA had been entered into the convict database after Du Lion was convicted in 2015 of attempted robbery. He admitted to raping and killing Ariane Mazijn.
Investigators believed the murder of Ariane Mazijn bore striking similarities to another unsolved murder from the 1990s. Eve Poppe was found dead in her apartment on Argentiniëlaan in the Antwerp neighbourhood of Luchtbal on Sept. 9, 1997. She had been strangled with a rope and was stabbed in the chest multiple times. Du Lion was even questioned at the time, as he was her window cleaner.
The defendant was questioned about the murder a second time in September 2019. After first invoking his right to remain silent, he not only confessed to the murder of Eve Poppe but spontaneously confessed to two other murders. Lutgarda Bogaerts was found strangled with the straps of her bicycle near the towpath along the Albert Canal in Oelegem on July 12, 1993. Maria Van den Reeck was found strangled with the cord of her curling iron in her apartment on the Stenenbrug in Borgerhout on December 9, 1994. Du Lion could remember very few details about the murders.
The defendant told investigators he felt relieved after his confessions. He said he had repressed the four murders for years, struggling to recall the facts, although experts believe his amnesia is feigned. Du Lion risks life in prison.
#FlandersNewsService | Stephaan Du Lion during the jury constitution of his trial, Antwerp Assizes Court, 21 December 2022. The 58-year-old window cleaner from Deurne is accused of four murders committed between 1992 and 1997.