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Love Triangle At 13,000 ft: Belgian Woman Kills Rival By Sabotaging Parachute

A skydiver accused of killing her love rival by sabotaging her parachute went on trial in Belgium on Friday, reports The Daily Mail, London. Prosecutors say jealousy drove Els Clottemans to kill Els Van Doren,
PTI September 25, 2010 9:23 IST
PTI
A skydiver accused of killing her love rival by sabotaging her parachute went on trial in Belgium on Friday, reports The Daily Mail, London.

Prosecutors say jealousy drove Els Clottemans to kill Els Van Doren, with whom she shared a passion for skydiving and a lover.

Clottemans, 26, denies the murder charges and accusations that she killed Van Doren to have the lover, Marcel Somers, to herself.

The case has captured the imagination of Belgians since Van Doren fell 13,000ft into a suburban garden in eastern Belgium after her parachute did not open on November 18, 2006.

The pair are believed to have met the handsome Dutchman at their parachute club in Zwartberg.



A married mother-of-two and skydiving enthusiast, Van Doren had jumped from a plane with Clottemans, their Dutch lover and another skydiver.

Clottemans jumped a fraction too late and did not join in airborne stunts with the other three.

When the sign was given to open the parachutes, Van Doren struggled with the cords, before hurtling toward the ground.

Van Doren plunged to her death a fortnight after spending the night in her lover's arms – while Clottemans was forced to sleep on the couch.

On the night which is alleged to have led to the murder, Van Doren was in Marcel's flat when her rival showed up at the property.



Evidence in the form of a parachute and other skydiving equipment are pictured in the foreground of the courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium. Clottemans, in red, can be seen standing at the rear

Two weeks later, when Van Doren used it for the first time since the allegedly fateful night with Somers, she hurtled to the ground at a speed of 120mph and was killed instantly.

Her final moments were caught on film by her own head-mounted camera.

The trio had been due to perform tricks together in the sky, but Clottemans jumped a fraction too late and did not join the manouevres.

Clottemans became a prime suspect when she attempted suicide hours before she was due to make a second statement to police, a month after the incident.

Detectives claimed in 2005 that Clottemans sent anonymous letters to Van Doren's husband, bombarded Somers with anonymous phone calls and once tried to kill herself.

In 2007, Clottemans told the Belgian media: ‘I always knew that I was number two for Marcel and that Els was number one. I never had a problem with this at the time as I had such a low image of myself that I could only ever imagine being number two.'

No hard evidence has surfaced so far to support the murder charge, but prosecutors hope circumstantial links will secure the conviction.

Chief defence lawyer Vic Van Aelst said prosecutors 'have nothing' to tie his client to the death.

'They have to prove they have something, but they are trying to do it since four years and it is not going very well for them,' he added.