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Belgium's most prolific serial killers

The Belgian flag overlayed with images of a Belgian police vehicle, officer and tape

Nestled between France and the Netherlands, Belgium is a small but culturally rich country. The birthplace of plenty of artists, writers and thinkers, it’s now home to the headquarters of the European Union. And - for its size - the country contributes an impressive number of the world’s best footballers and beers.

As for crime? Well, it’s a pretty safe place. Low-level street crime isn’t a huge concern for Belgians, although higher-end crime does pose a significant issue to authorities. It can be something of a gateway for drugs, for example. In 2022, police seized more than 110,000 kilos of cocaine in the port city of Antwerp alone.

Belgium isn’t renowned for producing too many prolific and notorious serial killers, but those that it has had to endure have been really quite unusual and terrifying.

Marie Alexandrine Becker – 11 victims

When Marie Alexandrine Becker was found guilty of killing 11 people in Liège back in 1936, the courtroom was packed to the rafters with angry members of the public. As the verdict was heard, the room instantly filled with yells of ‘tue-la!’ (‘kill her!’).

Throughout her trial, Becker insisted on her innocence, but the jury found her guilt to be amply demonstrated by the prosecution. She was given a death sentence, but in accordance with Belgian law, it was commuted to a life sentence. She was incarcerated until she died two years later at the age of 62.

Becker poisoned drinks that she gave to her husband, younger lover and several elderly women who frequented the dress shop that she ran. She would generally find a way to extort money from her victims. Her defence team attempted to claim that she was insane but to no avail.

András Pándy - 6 victims

'The Hungarian Clergyman Serial Killer', 'Diabolical Pastor' or 'Father Bluebeard' very much believed in the idea of 'keeping it in the family'. Between 1986 and 1990, the Hungarian-Belgian András Pándy killed six members of his own family and potentially up to eight people he was not related to (police later discovered remains buried under his house and in his garden). Most disturbingly of all, his daughter Ágnes helped in the murders. This came after Pándy had spent years grooming and abusing her, eventually making her believe that they were in a legitimate relationship.

The pair bludgeoned and shot dead Pándy's first two wives and four of his children. They used an acidic drain cleaner (which has since been taken off the market due to its ridiculous strength) to dispose of the bodies. The murderer's Brussels home contained teeth, bones, flesh, bloodstains, torn clothes, hair and ashes.

Pándy was arrested on 16th October 1997 and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. He died from natural causes in the hospital of a Bruges prison two days before Christmas 2013. Ágnes was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Marc Dutroux – 5 victims

Marc Dutroux was a serial killer and child molester who abducted, imprisoned, and sexually abused young girls in the 1990s. He was found guilty of killing five young girls and raping 11, but these numbers are conservative. He was involved in kidnapping to order for those rich and twisted enough to pay.

On 20th October 1996, 300,000 Belgian citizens took to the streets to protest the mishandling of the Dutroux case. It was labelled 'Marche Blanche' ('White March') and was a serious show of the country's disdain for flawed police procedure and an overwhelming show of no confidence in the Belgian justice system.

The public's disgust with the handling of the Marc Dutroux case by police stemmed from perceived incompetence, negligence and potential corruption. Dutroux, a notorious child molester and murderer, exploited flaws in the justice system, revealing systemic failures in investigation and prosecution.

The authorities' failure to prevent his crimes despite prior convictions sparked outrage and fuelled conspiracy theories surrounding child trafficking. The case exposed deep-rooted issues within law enforcement and the judiciary, leading to serious calls for reform and accountability. It shattered public trust and highlighted the need for swift and thorough action in cases of heinous crimes, particularly those against children.

The Butcher of Mons - 5 victims

In yet another example of a serial killer creating serious embarrassment for Belgian authorities, ‘The Butcher of Mons’ was not only never caught, they were never even identified.

The unidentified serial killer committed five murders between the beginning of 1996 and the summer of 1997 in and around the small city of Mons. The killer even seemed to taunt police, dropping off plastic bags containing precisely dismembered body parts in areas they had just finished searching.

The most disturbing aspect of what was already an extremely disturbing case was that the bags never contained parts of just one victim. They would be full of bits from different women. In total, the mixed-up remains of five women were put in 12 bags and left to be found in various different parts of the city.

Part of the problem with the investigation was staffing. Due to some utterly bizarre bureaucracy, the case was deemed to be 'local'. As such, only four investigators worked on it. No additional assistance was sought or given, and the murderer was never found.

Michel Bellen – 4 victims

Michel 'The Left Bank Strangler' Bellen was a house invader, rapist and serial killer who attacked women, sexually assaulted them and strangled them to death. Bellen was considered the first serial killer in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region of northern Belgium.

He was given a life sentence in 1965, released on parole in 1982, given a death sentence in 1983, and had that sentence reduced to life in prison in 1984. On 10th June 2020, Bellen passed away from heart failure in a Bierbeek mental health facility. He was 74.