Fouad L., who was not present at the hearing, has only spoken to investigators once about his motivation for killing his neighbour, his neighbour’s daughter and a lecturer, and the arson at the Erasmus MC education centre. That was on 28 September. On Thursday, the public prosecutor quoted from that interrogation: “I was extremely angry with Erasmus MC. I have all my credits, but they don’t want to give me a diploma. I can’t move forward and I can’t go back. I can’t start a new degree at 32, I have no job and soon I won’t have a house either.”

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Erasmus MC attack

On 28 September 2023, a lecturer was shot dead at Erasmus MC. A fire was also set in the…

‘Suspicions and possible delusions’

Fouad L.’s lawyer, Marlin Nolte, requested an investigation into the contact between her client and the community police officer. The officer allegedly reported to the Erasmus MC Examining Board that L. was already posing as a doctor. At the time, he was still enrolled as a student and was about to be newly qualified. Partly because of this report, the faculty paused the awarding of his diploma.

Erasmus MC already had a file on L. before receiving the community police officer’s report. Fouad had been suspended, during which time he had started drinking, as he freely admitted in the interrogation on 28 September. While drunk, he abused animals, for which he has already been convicted. During the interrogation, he told the police he could not remember anything about that.

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According to Nolte, the community police officer’s report may have influenced L.’s suspicions and possible delusions. He was convinced his neighbour was spying on him. He also believed his neighbours’ reports about him contributed to him not being awarded his diploma.

The court rejected the lawyer’s request, ruling that L. will be able to explain for himself during an examination at the Pieter Baan Centre what effect the contact with the community police officer had on him. However, the police officer’s report to the Examining Board will be included in the documents presented at the trial.

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A file going back years

Before medical student Fouad L. shot dead his neighbour, his neighbour’s daughter and a lecturer in September 2023, various agencies had been concerned about his behaviour for several years. This emerged from a report published last week. The report describes Fouad L. as highly intelligent and extremely calculating.

Because there were long periods between reports, L. ‘appeared’ willing to accept help, professionals were not constantly working on his case and different agencies did not always consult each other about the case, his behaviour passed under the radar. The agencies involved did not see the outburst of violence on 28 September coming.

In an update on the ongoing investigation, the public prosecutor said that the suspicions of the Public Prosecution Service had been confirmed: L. had prepared for 28 September for months. Among other things, he had thought about starting a fire at the education centre.

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What will happen next?

Minor hearings like the one on Thursday are about requests for further investigations and whether the accused should remain in jail, although that was not an issue this time. Fouad L. will be sent to the Pieter Baan Centre, a psychiatric observation clinic, for a second observation. He has already been observed for seven weeks. On Monday 8 July, he will go to the clinic for another four weeks. Such a second period of observation is extremely rare.

The results of the observation are expected in early September. The final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 30 September. The judge told Fouad L.’s lawyer that she hopes he will appear at that hearing. “It will allow him to get used to this courtroom”, the judge said. “It would also be good for the victims and relatives to see the accused before the trial.” It is not certain whether Fouad L. will attend.

The trial will start in January 2025 at the earliest, more than fifteen months after the attack at Erasmus MC on 28 September 2023. The judge acknowledged it is a long time to wait for those involved and for next of kin, but this date means that there is less chance of a delay than with an earlier date.

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