Pastor dissolved relatives' bodies
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- A pastor and his daughter have been jailed after they were convicted of murdering six relatives and dissolving their remains in chemicals.
A jury on Wednesday sentenced Andras Pandy, 74, to life in prison and his daughter Agnes, 44, to 21 years in jail.
A day earlier the jury of 12 found the Hungarian-born pastor guilty of murdering six family members, one of whom, a daughter, was raped. He also was convicted of raping two other daughters.
His daughter was convicted for the murder of five family members and the attempted murder of a sixth.
The jury backed the prosecution's demand for life imprisonment for Pandy. It was more lenient for Agnes, who received a shorter term than the 29 years sought by the prosecution.
The jury's sentencing, after three hours of deliberation, brought to an end a trial that has kept Belgians riveted for two weeks.
Lawyers for Agnes had hoped for a lighter sentence after claiming she was under the "overwhelming irresistible spell" of a father who had raped her while collaborating in the killings of her mother and siblings.
"I had no way out. I was completely in his grip," said Agnes in her closing statement.
Pandy's two wives, two sons and two stepdaughters disappeared years ago. The Hungarian-born Pandy insisted they are still alive and that he was "in contact with them through angels."
When asked why the missing family members could not be traced in four years of searching, Pandy replied: "It is up to justice to prove they are dead. When I'm free again, they will come and visit me."
The trial focused on whether a father can force his daughter to kill her mother and siblings, and how long it takes a particular brand of drain cleaner to eat away a human body.
Agnes Pandy, the prosecution's main witness, said she had been forced to cooperate in the killing of five of her family members.
Prosecutors allege Pandy raped his daughters and stepdaughters, then turned to murder between 1986 and 1989 to cover up the incest after one stepdaughter, Timea, then 20, became pregnant.
He was also charged with the attempted murder of Timea, who then fled to Canada and Hungary, with her son, now 16.
In closing, defence lawyer Bruno Degryse argued that Pandy should be acquitted because there could be no conviction without bodies.
Agnes Pandy's lawyer Walter Muls said she should go free because she was under the "overwhelming irresistible spell" of a father who had raped her.
During the trial medical experts showed photographic evidence of how drain cleaner dissolves a body.
However, Pandy's lawyer dismissed the evidence, saying: "So they proved a human body can be dissolved, but does it prove my client did it?"
The case began in 1997 when police began digging for human remains in 1997 in several homes owned by Pandy.
They found body parts in one cellar, but DNA tests showed they were not from the missing Pandy family members. It remains unclear whose body parts those were.
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