Edition 28 June 2018, by Benjamin B. Roberts
The loss of a child is the worse grief a person can suffer. However, when the murderer had already been imprisoned before and was undergoing psychological treatment for re-integration into society, then the pain is even more agonizing. Last September, 25-year old art history student Anne Faber, who hoped one day to become the director of the Rijksmuseum, went for a bike ride through the wooded outskirts of Baarn, a wealthy residential community. During her bike ride, Anne stopped near a lake to text her father, after he sent her a photo of his new car. That’s the last Wim Faber heard from his daughter. Within a few hours he started to wonder where she was and started making calls to friends and family. Two weeks passed before her body was founded buried in a wooded area near the town of Zeewolde. The police were able to find her raped and murdered body after her coat had been found, with traces of blood and DNA belonging to Michael P., a known criminal, who earlier in 2017 had been transferred to a psychiatric facility only eight kilometers away from where Anne Faber had last been seen. The 27-yearold man confessed to murdering her and informed the police where she was buried.
In 2010 Michael P. had been convicted of the rape of two girls. The court had sentenced him to 16 years in prison. However, at his appeal in 2012, the judges reduced his sentence to 11 years, based on the argument that Michael P. committed his crimes under the influence of cocaine and Ritalin. Moreover, the young man also suffered from a compulsive behavior disorder. The court also reduced his sentence because the rapes were unplanned. In an interview in the Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant on May 26, Wim Faber stated that the rape and murder of his daughter could have been prevented if the appeal judges had not been negligent.
Mr. Faber came to this painful conclusion after studying the public documents of the court case against Michael P. in 2010 and his appeal in 2012. Anne’s father asserted that the judges neglected several important signs about Michael P’s mental state. The psychologists believed Michael P. to be mentally disturbed and that he showed signs of psychopathic behavior. Moreover, he had shown no remorse regarding the rape of the two girls in 2010 and the psychological experts thought that the chances were high that he would commit crimes again.
However, the court decided to reduce Michael P.’s sentence and allowed preventative detention and psychiatric treatment at the Pieter Baan Center, after he had served seven years of his sentence in prison. The Pieter Baan Center is a psychological facility where patients are observed to determine whether they can be held fully responsible for their crimes, which might have been committed while suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder. Contrary to a prison, the psychiatric facility does not incarcerate patients and they are free to come and go. The primary task of the facility is to prepare them for reintegration into society. At the time of Anne Faber’s murder, Michael P. was being treated at the Pieter Baan Centre Altrecht, housed in a wooded part of Den Dolder, only eight kilometers away from where Anne was raped and murdered.
In the same interview, Mr. Faber also demanded the resignation of the presiding judge, Rinus Otte, who did not rule for Michael’s P.’s incarceration and only gave him preventative detention. On June 1st, Geert Corstens, a retired judge and former colleague of Otte, argued in the Dutch newspaper NRC that he understood Faber’s and the public’s outrage, but that a resignation of the judge would undermine the impartiality and independence of the Dutch judiciary system. Moreover, this would open the floodgates for public opinion influencing judicial rulings. On June 12 Michael P. was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the murder of Anne Faber, followed by compulsory treatment at a psychiatric prison. The judges believe this is a better option than a life sentence, which would make Michael P. eligible for parole after 25 years, without undergoing any significant psychiatric treatment.