When a woman in Belgium became jealous that both she and her skydiving partner had fallen in love with the same man, she made sure that her younger rival fell harder.
A jury in Belgium sentenced Els Clottermans, a teacher, to 30 years in prison for secretly tampering with a parachute belonging to the victim, Els Van Doren, days before the pair took a skydiving trip with their mutual lover, Marcel Somers, in November 2006.
During the trip, Somers, 25, was forced to watch in horror as Van Doren, a 38-year-old married mother of two, plummeted more than two miles through the air, frantically trying to open her reserve parachute, before crashing into a garden in the Flemish Limburg town of Opglabbeek, The Daily Telegraph reported. Chilling footage of the death dive was captured on Van Doren’s helmet-mounted video camera.
Prosecutors said that Clottermans was acting jumpy on the day of the murder. The three were regular skydiving partners and, normally, they would leap at the same time and make a star formation in the air. But on the day of the murder, Clottermans hung back in the airplane while the other two jumped.
The three were part of a larger group of nearly a dozen parachutists that day, according to The Associated Press.
Police suspected foul play after they discovered some straps to Van Doren’s parachute had been cut. Clottermans was arrested after attempting suicide during an investigation into the death, Sky News reported.
The trio had spent many boozy weekends together in local bars. Somers reportedly stuck to a strict sleeping schedule with the two women, reserving Fridays for Clottermans and Saturdays for Van Doren. About a week before the fatal jump, Clottermans spent a sleepless night on Somers’ couch while the he and Van Doren audibly made love in his bedroom, The Daily Mail reported. Unfortunately for Van Doren, her parachute was just a few feet away.
Belgian court psychiatrists have declared Clottemans to be “a danger to society” and to be a “psychopath with dramatic features, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Prosecutors had demanded a life sentence, but Clottermans could be released on good conduct after 10 years, according to the Times of India.
Clottermans denied she had cut Van Dorens parachute and maintained her innocence throughout the trial. She was quite clear, however, about her place in Somers heart.
“I always knew I was No. 2 for Marcel and that Els was No. 1. But I never had a problem with this because I had a low opinion of myself,” she said in a letter sent to the Belgian media.
Source: NYDailyNews.com, October 21, 2010