The 20-year-old suspected of slashing two babies and a staff member to death at a day care centre last week was troubled by depression as a teenager and at one point heard voices in his head, his defence lawyer said Tuesday.
Lawyer Jaak Haentjens said his client, Kim de Gelder, understood he did something "inhuman" but remained aloof and emotionless during a short session at court where he was remanded in custody.
"At the age of 15 or 16, he suffered from a deep depression and had strange behaviour," Haentjens said. "When he was 18, his parents wanted to have him committed but it didn't happen because he had a treatment.
"A psychiatrist said that committing him was not necessary. Kim was hearing voices in his head at the time," he added.
No specific memory of killings
Even if De Gelder remained vague about the killings Friday at the nursery in Dendermonde, he denied fatally stabbing a 73-year-old woman in a similar attack the week before, Haentjens said.
Haentjens said that, even though his client "obviously understands that he did something which is inhuman," he later said that De Gelder had no specific memories of what happened in the day care centre.
Investigators say they have evidence De Gelder was planning to attack two more nurseries.
So far, De Gelder faces three murder charges for the killings of a 6-month-old boy, a 9-month-old girl and a 54-year-old care giver and 12 attempted murder charges for the 10 injured children and two workers, some of whom are still recovering from surgery needed after the attack.
"We have to accept that, in our society, there can be people who can do things, driven by voices, forces, which they do not realize and which they cannot control," he said. – (Raf Casert/AP, Sapa, AFP)
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