New Zealand man acquitted of Terri King murder now reportedly suspect in Dutch torture chamber case

A suspect in a multinational European organised crime investigation that uncovered a makeshift prison and torture chamber was previously acquitted of a high-profile Wellington murder in 1999, according to Dutch media reports.

Nine arrests were made after Dutch police discovered seven shipping containers converted into a makeshift prison and a sound-proofed “torture chamber”, complete with a dentist’s chair and tools including pliers, scalpels and handcuffs.

The June discovery in Wouwse Plantage, a small southwestern village in the Netherlands, further exposed the increasingly violent underworld of Dutch gangs and their large-scale production and trafficking of drugs.

Terri King, known most of his life as Trevor Heath, was killed, execution style, in the Tararua Ranges in Wellington in 1999. No-one was ever found guilty of his murder. (Stuff NZ)
William Jan H Haanstra, 43, has been named as one of nine arrested and identified by Dutch magazine Panorama as the main suspect in the unsolved murder of Terri King, whose body was found in the Tararua Ranges in April 1999.

He was charged over the murder of Mr King but was acquitted by a jury after a two-month trial in the High Court at Wellington. At the time, the trial cast a spotlight on the capital city’s drug scene.

Mr King, 31, known most of his life by his adopted name, Trevor Raymond Heath, was shot, execution style, in the back of the head while on Mount Holdsworth in the Tararua Ranges.

Police alleged Mr King, who was well known in the Wellington drug and party scene, had been seen going into the mountains with Mr Haanstra in search of a buried stash of MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Two months later a hunter stumbled upon his decaying body, which showed a severe head wound.

No murder weapon was found and it was six months before Mr Haanstra, an unemployed model, was arrested and charged over the death.

In 2002, coroner Jock Kershaw ruled that Mr King’s killer was “unknown”.

Dutch police say they have arrested six men after discovering sea containers that had been converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed torture chamber complete with a dentists chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs. (Netherlands Police via AP)

In 2010, a police officer involved in the trial, Detective Sergeant Ross Levy, told The Dominion Post after he retired that Mr Haanstra “wasn’t found innocent, he was found not guilty”, and police were not looking for anyone else in relation to Mr King’s murder.

In Panorama, Dutch journalist Eric Slot alleged Mr Haanstra was one of nine arrested in June, after a joint operation by Dutch and French police to infiltrate an encrypted phone system, EncroChat.

The BBC reported that British and Dutch police had already arrested hundreds of suspects based on the encrypted messages, seizing more than 8000 kilograms of cocaine, 1200 kilograms of crystal meth and dozens of firearms, and dismantling 19 synthetic drugs labs.

After intercepting millions of messages, police found the containers in April in Wouwse Plantage, near the Belgian border, and put them under observation. Police discovered multiple men were working on them almost every day.

William Jan Haanstra arrives at court in 2000. He was the main suspect in the murder of Terri King, but was acquitted of the crime. (Craig Simcox/ Evening Post via Stuff NZ)

Data from the encrypted phone network included photographs of the container and the dentist chair, with belts attached to the arm and foot supports.

The messages called the warehouse the “treatment room” and the “ebi”, a reference to a top-security Dutch prison.

The messages also revealed identities of potential victims, who were warned and went into hiding, Dutch police said.

Mr Slot reported that Mr Haanstra was also a suspect in the disappearance and suspected murder of a Dutch man, Remco van der Torre, in 2008.

Police believe Mr van der Torre wanted to sell 20 kilograms of weed and had invited people to his home before he disappeared.

“Traces of blood were found in his home and someone had tried to set it on fire,” Mr Slot said.

Mr Haanstra was arrested, along with another man, but both were released because of a lack of evidence.

This article originally appeared on Stuff and has been republished with permission.

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Khmer Rouge executioner ‘Comrade Duch’ who oversaw notorious torture prison dies age 77

Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known by his alias, Comrade Duch, died just after midnight on Wednesday at a hospital in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, according to a spokesperson for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Neth Pheaktra, who made the announcement on Twitter.

Duch was a senior figure in Pol Pot’s tyrannical communist regime and ran the notorious Tuol Sleng S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh, where at least 14,000 people died.

At least 1.7 million people — nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population — died from execution, disease, starvation and forced labor under the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled the country between 1975-1979.

Many of those killed were intellectuals or trained professionals — people considered counter-revolutionaries by the Khmer Rouge leadership bent on turning Cambodia into a purely agrarian society through ruthless social engineering policies.

Duch was the first Khmer Rouge commander to be convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention by a United Nations-backed tribunal in 2010. He was handed a life sentence in 2012 after losing an appeal in which he argued that he was just following orders of senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.
At his trial, Duch — then a born-again Christian — pleaded guilty to his crimes and apologized to the victims’ families, asking for their forgiveness.
His charges were heard at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) — a special UN-backed tribunal that was formed in 2006 to prosecute senior Khmer Rouge leaders and other regime figures responsible for especially heinous acts.

The tribunal began its work in 2007 after a decade of on-and-off negotiations between the United Nations and Cambodia over the structure and functioning of the court.

In 2018, almost four decades after the collapse of Pol Pot’s brutal regime, the tribunal ruled that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide.

A former school teacher, Duch became head of the Santebal, which was in charge of internal security and operating prison camps under the Khmer Rouge, according to the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor, a group of academic and nonprofit organizations.

Known by the code name S-21, the former high school of Tuol Sleng became the Khmer Rouge’s secret prison and the most potent symbol of its brutality.
At the prison, men, women and children were shackled to iron beds and tortured before they were beaten to death, prosecutors said. Few people taken there made it out alive. Many inmates ended their days along with tens of thousands others in the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
“I thought that was the end of my life,” one survivor told CNN in 2008. “In my room people kept dying, one or two every day.”
The prison was turned into a memorial site documenting the horrors and atrocities of the regime. One building has been preserved exactly as the Vietnamese invaders found it in early 1979, down to the bloodstains on the floor and the implements of torture left on the bed frames. In another hang black and white portraits of the prisoners — photos taken by the regime — who died there.

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More Torture for Michael Flynn

One test of a judicial ruling in a controversial case is whether it would have come out the same way if the defendant’s name were John Doe. On that measure, among others, it’s hard to credit as legally justified Monday’s appellate court ruling against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In an en banc appeal, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a writ of mandamus issued by a court panel on behalf of Mr. Flynn. The writ had ordered Judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the Justice Department’s request to dismiss…

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Sleazy riders – Drugs, torture and turf war: Europe’s biker gangs turn nasty | Europe

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Silver lining on the horizon for Adelaide Crows after several years of torture

They’ve become the AFL’s latest dumpster fire with the Adelaide Crows falling from one controversy to the next, both on and off the field.

Things have gone downhill at a rapid rate for the club following the 2017 AFL Grand Final. Having missed finals the past two seasons, off field dramas have continued to plague the two time premiership winning club.

But as the hits continue to pile up, a silver lining exists on the horizon in 2021 for the Crows.

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Star players have walked out of the tumultuous club over the years and midfielder Brad Crouch looks set to follow suit following the 2020 season after approaching the Gold Coast Suns last year.

His departure however could land the Crows a treasure trove at the AFL Draft table and help launch their rebuild they so desperately need.

“They have five picks, potentially, in the top 25 in this national draft if their free agent Brad Crouch decides to leave,” the Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph told AFL Tonight.

“They (the Crows) will still try to work on a contract extension with him. He was very close (to leaving) – or at least was very keen to get into the Gold Coast – last year. He lowered his price.

“They’re having discussions about that, but certainly if he is to leave the club as a 26-year-old restricted free agent – and Gold Coast certainly has interest again, they’ll watch him and Matthew Rowell’s progress over the next couple of months, Melbourne teams will consider that as well – they would potentially get a first-round compensation pick after their first draft pick – that could be Pick 1, 2 or 3 – so they might have two top-five picks. They’ve got Pick 12 already from GWS and a couple of early second-rounders.

“That would put them in a really strong spot.”

Leaning into a rebuild isn’t an easy sell for a team or a fan base, but with the potential addition of multiple young star building blocks, the Crows could put themselves in an ideal position to lift up from the canvas quicker than most.

“They know where they are, there’s going to be some hard yards ahead. But if they can quickly turn it around on the field, they can bounce within the next 12 to 24 months,” Ralph said.

The thoughts surrounding a rebuild were only heightened by Adelaide radio host Stephen Rowe when he suggested the club won’t win a game this season.

“Footy’s back. I think every Crows supporter wished it wasn’t,” Rowe said on FIVEaa.

“Port – they just smashed them in every single aspect of the game: the contest, the skill, the run.

“ To dish that up after 84 days was embarrassing for them.

“They play like that they won’t win a game of footy let alone the wooden spoon. They’re a long way back the Crows and it’s going to have start with effort for the contest and the want to play for each other. There’s a trend now … their contested possession and their clearance – this is midfield, this is all on the midfield – is woeful.”

The Crows will get a chance to prove the Showdown demolition wasn’t the brand of footy they’re capable of when they take on the rising Gold Coast Suns on Sunday.

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