Belgian crèche killer convicted for murder after being found sane

BRUSSELS Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:08pm EDT

1 of 5. Belgian Kim De Gelder is seen on the last day of his trial at the Palace of Justice in Ghent March 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nicolas Maeterlinck/Pool

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian who stabbed two babies and a child minder to death in a day-care center in 2009 was convicted for murder on Friday after a jury ruled that he was sane.

Kim De Gelder, now 24, slashed babies, infants and carers in a frenzied attack at the Fabeltjesland (Fairytale Land) crèche in Dendermonde, 30 km (20 miles) west of Brussels, in January 2009.

He killed a six-month-old boy and another aged nine months as well as a woman child minder. He was also convicted for killing a pensioner at her home a week before.

"The defendant is guilty of murder, to have killed deliberately and with intent," Judge Koen Defoort told the court, adding he was also found guilty of the attempted murder of 22 others at the day-care center.

The judge is expected to rule on the length of De Gelder's jail sentence later on Friday.

As De Gelder did not dispute the facts of the case, the trial became focused on his state of mind at the time and whether he should be jailed or committed to a psychiatric ward.

During the trial, De Gelder described how he planned his crimes carefully, including practicing how to slit throats on a wooden cutout in his apartment.

He also said he had kept telling psychiatrists that he had heard voices commanding him to kill at the suggestion of his lawyer.

Asked about the murder of a 72-year-old woman a week earlier, De Gelder described posing as a water inspector to gain entry to the woman's home before killing her.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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