Julie Van Espen Wikipedia: On Monday, May 6, 2019, the remains of Julie Van Espen, a 23-year-old Belgian woman born on February 27, 1996, were discovered in the Albert Canal in Antwerp.
On the same day, authorities apprehended Steve Bakelmans, aged 39, on suspicion of her murder.
While in custody, he admitted to killing her after trying to assault her sexually. The incident sparked a public outcry, prompting political demonstrations against sexual violence.
Bakelmans was arrested in Leuven on the day Van Espen’s body was found, following the release of CCTV images as part of the investigation into her death.
During his detention, he confessed to the crime. He had a prior history, having served four and a-half years in prison for various offences, including rape.
In 2016, he faced allegations of theft and rape, resulting in a four-year prison sentence. Despite appealing, the case was indefinitely postponed in November 2018.
Upon his arrest for Van Espen’s murder, law enforcement and prosecutors expressed their intent to use Bakelman’s DNA to potentially link him to unsolved cases.
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Julie Van Espen Wikipedia
Julie Van Espen Wikipedia page is currently not published, ensuring the protection of her privacy.
Details regarding her education, family background, and her parents’ professions are not disclosed.
Moreover, her tragic and violent death has, however, significantly contributed to raising awareness about sexual violence and assaults.
Her funeral, held on May 18, was attended by a substantial crowd, with over 2000 individuals present.
Inside the church, around 700 relatives, friends, and acquaintances paid their respects, while an additional 1600 people gathered outside during the service.
Within the church ceremony, Van Espen’s family publicly requested a poignant tribute: they asked for the name of the bridge near where her body was discovered to be changed to “Zonnebrug” (Sunbridge) in her honor. This gesture aimed to immortalise her memory in a meaningful way.
Julie Van Espen Killed by Murderer Steve Bakelmans
On May 4, 2019, in Antwerp, Belgium, it’s reported that 39-year-old Steve Bakelmans, seeking to assault someone at random, spotted 23-year-old Julie riding her bicycle.
He forcibly removed her from the bicycle with the intent of assaulting her.
When she resisted, he violently attacked her until she ceased movement, subsequently strangling her.
He left her body at the roadside, taking her bicycle basket and heading towards the Antwerp Giants training centre.
Surveillance footage captured his movements, aiding in his identification. Bakelmans disposed of Van Espen’s travel pass in a complex bin, concealing her bicycle basket in an alley as it didn’t fit.
Later that evening, he disposed of her body, along with her bicycle and mobile phone, in the Albert Canal, where it was discovered on May 6. Some of Van Espen’s clothing was found in the nearby grass.
The day after Bakelman’s arrest, his Facebook account was removed following an influx of hateful messages from numerous individuals.
Minister of Justice Koen Geens cancelled the planned Midsummer party in Leuven “as a gesture of respect and empathy for Julie’s parents, family, and social circle” on May 8.
Over 15,000 individuals participated in a quiet demonstration in Antwerp in honour of Van Espen on May 12.
The “Partij voor de Poëzie” (Party for Poetry) put up posters in various locations across Belgium where women felt sexually threatened, aiming to condemn sexual violence.
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