A hospital pastor living with a vicar. Two men of God. It rightly didn’t faze the people of Ubbergen, in the Netherlands, a country where marriage equality has long been a fact. Frank Jimmink and his husband, Dick Piersma, were by all accounts a well-liked couple.
Alas: Now Piersma (photo) is dead and Jimmink is in prison, accused of killing his soulmate with an axe [link in Dutch]. I suppose we could call it (pardon me) homocide.
According to Dutch prosecutors, the pastor made a full and immediate confession, and even offered police some insight into his thought process.
First, Jimmink said, he contemplated suicide, but decided he couldn’t inflict that kind of pain on his partner. Then, in another odd twist, he considered killing a number of old ladies, but rejected that plan too. Inspiration struck when he read about a Canadian porn actor who stabbed a friend to death with an icepick and dismembered the body.
But it was Wallander, a TV series about a Swedish homicide detective, that gave Jimmink the final push. The episode in question revolves around a series of mysterious axe murders. An axe is a very good weapon, the Dutch would-be slayer coolly decided. As his husband would soon find out, it certainly was an effective one.
One night last September, after Piersma had fallen asleep, Jimmink took an axe and wacked him on the back of the head with the blunt side; then the killer turned over the body and violently brought the blade down on his true love’s face.
Jimmink changed out of his bloody clothes, took a picture of his gruesome handiwork, pocketed the couple’s passports, and walked to the police station to turn himself in.
None of that made much sense — but then, that’s what religion and mental illness often have in common.
Jimmink is thought to have suffered from depression as well as jealousy and/or fear of abandonment. He claims diminished culpability, a kind of insanity defense.
The good pastor is looking at seven years in prison, and may subsequently spend time in forced psychiatric care. The Dutch court will render its verdict in two weeks.
[Bert van Manen is Moral Compass’ European Correspondent. Image via camilleri.nl.]