Thursday, January 25, 2007

Female skydiver charged with murder after love rival fell 13,000ft to her death

Skydiver charged with murder after love rival fell 13,000ft to her death

A married woman who was having an affair with a fellow skydiver plunged 13,000ft (4,000m) to her death after her love rival and best friend tampered with her parachute, police say.

Els Van Doren, 37, fell to earth in a garden in front of a group of onlookers. Els Clottemans, 22, has been charged with her murder.

Minutes earlier the pair had joined hands in a star formation with two other skydivers including Ms Clottemans’s boyfriend, a Dutchman named only as Marcel, who police say was having an affair with Mrs Van Doren.

While he and Ms Clottemans broke away at 4,000ft when their parachutes inflated, Mrs Van Doren, a mother of two, was unable to open either her main parachute or the reserve and crashed to her death in the town of Opglabbeek, Belgium.

Her final moments were filmed by her own head-mounted camera.

Wally Elters, a witness at the aerodrome from which the fatal flight departed, told Le Soir: “I was working on my plane when I heard someone on the ground screaming and pointing to the sky.

“I looked up and saw a black spot falling quickly to the ground. It was wriggling about and it was pretty obvious it was a person.

“Above it were three people in parachutes coming down slowly. Then it hit the ground. It was an appalling moment.”

Police say that video footage taken by Mrs Van Doren as she tried to open her parachute provided evidence that led them to suspect that a fellow club member had sabotaged the equipment. A spokesman said: “A close inspection of the parachutes leads us to believe they had been meddled with.”

An employee at the airfield in Zwarteberg added: “It is very rare for one parachute not to open, but for two to fail is virtually unheard of.”

At Mrs Van Doren’s funeral, about 1,000 people heard her sister deliver a bitter eulogy. “You did all you could during that final jump to save yourself,” she was quoted as saying in the Belgian press. “But someone did not want you to live.”

Ms Clottemans was arrested and charged after a two-month investigation. She denies the allegations but is being held in custody before a court appearance later this month.

Police became increasingly suspicious of Miss Clottemans after discovering the affair between Mrs Van Doren and Marcel. All three had skydived togther for several years.

Ms Clottemans, a secretary, is understood to have attempted suicide hours before being brought in for questioning by detectives for a second time last month. She is said to be suffering from a personality disorder and is receiving treatment.

Police have also disclosed that Ms Clottemans had previously been arrested for attempting to run over an American boyfriend. He escaped injury and she was released without charge.

According to the Belgian media, Marcel tried to arrange his liaisons so that neither woman found out about the other. His affair with Ms Clottemans began a year ago and he would spend Friday evening through to Saturday morning with her.

In the afternoon, he would meet Mrs Van Doren after she had spent the morning working in her husband’s jewellery shop. Their relationship had begun some years earlier and the two would spend the night in nearby Eindhoven, before returning to the skydiving club the next day.

Despite Marcel’s precautions, Ms Clottemans appears to have found out about her rival, although Mrs Van Doren was unaware that he was also involved with her close friend.

A statement from the public prosecutor said: "A thorough investigation of the available evidence and analysis of the motive provide sufficient reason for arresting the suspect." The investigating magistrate charged her with murder, issued an arrest warrant and had her locked up in Hasselt prison.

"In order not to jeopardise the smooth running of the investigation, no further information will be supplied. As has already been suggested in the media, the motive for the crime is most probably in the passionate area. The accused denies the charges."

One thing strikes me - they waited two months to arrest this woman. And even now, it seems they are treating her with kid gloves. Of course, since this is a crime with a female victim, expect some sort of justice to be served eventually. If it was a male victim, she would have been awarded a medal or something.

Anyone remember the story a couple of months ago about the male professional skydiver who gave up his life to protect that of his female student when, for some reason, both their parachutes didn't open? This happened in Australia I believe.


  1. Quadriplegic dad being evicted from childhood home of 43 yrs Friday 1/26/07 even though his case is still under appeal.

    Dan Iagatta of Foxboro is being unjustly thrown out on the street Friday 1/26/2007 at 9am. Family Court Judge Beverly Boorstein held a trial while Dan was laid up in a hospital bed and could not attend. This is the same Judge caught skipping out of work by an Eyewitness News undercover investigation. Dan never got a fair trial.

    Gov. Deval Patrick is the only person who can help.

    Use your cell phone and call the governor’s office today, right now! Tell him you want “a stay of execution for Dan Iagatta.”
    Then ask him to find out how this happened.

    Phone: (617) 725-4005 / Fax: (617) 727-9725

    Dan was a volunteer Foxboro firefighter, pilot and ran a successful plumbing business before being hit by a car while training for a triathalon in 2004. Weeks after coming home from the hospital Dan’s wife, and RN, filed for divorce. The state invested $100,000 to make Dan’s childhood home handicap accessible. Judge Boorstein doesn’t care. She ordered Dan to rip everything out, sell the home and give all the money from his inheritance to his ex-wife and LAWYERS.

  2. Police have also disclosed that Ms Clottemans had previously been arrested for attempting to run over an American boyfriend. He escaped injury and she was released without charge.
    Women like this need to be branded with the word Psycho. They get treated like they are the victims then go on to destroy more lives. It's disgusting.

  3. Wow, I totally missed that part. Thanks for bringing it to my attention darkbhudda. I've bolded that section on the article.

  4. But, but this can't be right !

    Feminists have always told us that women are only victims !