Guilty verdicts over kicking to death of Dutch football official
Richard Nieuwenhuizen was set upon after acting as a linesman at a junior match
Six teenagers and one of their fathers jailed
Tragic incident received worldwide attention last year
Six teenagers and one of their fathers were found guilty by a Dutch court Monday of the killing of an amateur football linesman last year.
The 50-year-old adult was sentenced to six years in jail, with five of the teenagers given the maximum sentence of two years in youth detention. The other will serve one year.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was set upon by his seven attackers after officiating at a youth match between his son’s football team, SC Buitenboys and Nieuw Sloten in Almere, near Amsterdam on December 2, 2012.
The father of three walked away after the beating, but later collapsed and died in hospital the next day.
“The court finds that there is sufficient legal proof that all suspects had a share in the very powerful and violent kicks and kicks to the head and upper body,” read the ruling in finding the seven guilty of manslaughter, public violence and brutality.
An eighth defendant, a 15-year-old, was cleared of the killing but sentenced to a 30 days detention for assaulting the linesman and the SC Buitenboys goalkeeper.
The defense case had claimed that a rare medical disorder contributed to Nieuwenhuizen’s death, but this was rejected by judges, who ruled it was as a result of “serious violence against him.”
The tragic incident sent shockwaves through Dutch football, which is renowned for its production of talented young players through amateur youth system, and made headlines across the world.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter sent his condolences – all 33,000 amateur games across the Netherlands the following weekend were canceled – and a minute’s silence was also observed at all Dutch professional league matches.
At Nieuwenhuizen’s funeral, hundreds lined the streets to pay their respects, with players from SC Buitenboys, bedecked in their blue and white colors, forming a guard of honor as his hearse entered the crematorium in Almere.
Four teenagers were immediately arrested almost immediately after the attack, with three others and the father of one of the Nieuw Sloten players held a week later.
The trial in Lelystad began on May 29, with several members of Nieuwenhuizen’s family in attendance as a panel of judges heard the evidence.