Evidence did not exist: Gross incompetence of NFI, or was it forged?
‘s-Hertogenbosch-The husband of Bebe Paña ten Winkel from Badian, Cebu province, Philippines, is found not guilty by the Dutch Appelate Court in Den Bosch.
Dutchman ten Winkel was arrested januari 2005 on murder charges and was convicted in june 2006 to 12 years imprisonment for manslaughter of his wife Bebe Paña.
Ten Winkel however always adamently maintained his innocence and that in fact his severely depressed wife had committed suicide.
During the appeal on 21-23 march 2007, experts for the defence showed that the prior evidence on which ten Winkel was convicted, simply did not exist.
During the first trial in 2006, the Expert for the prosecution -Dr. De Bakker from the ‘Groene Hart Ziekenhuis’ – hired by the State pathology lab (NFI-Netherlands Forensic Institute), had stated that a line, visible on a CT scan of the troath of Paña, was likely a fracture, and that he would not know what else had caused this than strangulation. This sealed the fate for ten Winkel in the 2006 trial.
On appeal, counter expertise from Dutch and Belgian forensic experts as well as from a forensic pathologist from Scotland Yard made clear that the line in the CT was no fracture at all but a normal finding -also in people alive- being a remnant of normal embryological development. In fact, Paña appeared to have this line on the other (left) side as well, which was missed by the state lab.
It was painful for the Dutch state forensic institute that the pathologist (Bela Kubat) who testified on the first day, had given the judges a completely different view of where this supposed fracture was situated than the radiologist from the state (de Bakker, Groene Hart Hospital) who testified on the 2nd day, suggesting a serious communication problem between the two. This was so blatant that it triggered the presiding judge to make a remark to that effect.
Confronted with these facts, De Bakker showed himself to be a sore looser, maybe because his wife was attending the proceedings and he did not want to look like a dumbass in front of her. At a certain moment, one of the judges even had to point out to him on the X-ray that there was no fracture. Bela Kubat in the mean time had lost her continous arrogance and just remained silent and trembling in her seat.
‘Supporting evidence’ brought forward by the Prosecution, was dismissed by Scotland Yard expert Prof. Dr. Milroy as of no value. The state pathologist Dr. Kubat, admitted it was more her ‘personal theory’.
On the basis of the above, defense lawyer Mr. Gerard Spong asked for acquittal. He pointed out that never any motive was established by the prosecutor and that their marriage had been a good one, as testified by the handwritten letter left by his wife.
With this counter expertise being overwhelmingly convincing, and the prosecutor even admitting there was no fracture (the sole evidence for ten Winkel’s 2006 conviction), the 3 judges from the appellate court showed no hesitation in releasing ten Winkel 2 days after the trial, pending the verdict 2 weeks later on April 6. In their verdict the appelate court stated that indeed there was no fracture, but even if there would have been a fracture – as presumed during the first trial- this was not proof of any wrongdoing as it could have occured after death e.g. as a “mortician’s fracture”.
Ten Winkel is reunited with the couples 6 year old son who he had not seen during his 2,5 years incarceration. In a note, identified as from her hand, Bebe Paña apparently announced her suicide, she called ten Winkel a ‘wonderful, wonderful husband’, ‘who loves me the way I am’. She however also referred to her severe depressions for which there was no cure and announced this would be the last time the addressee would hear from her.
Ten Winkel is re-establishing contact with his in-laws in Cebu, some of whom even congratulated him on his release.
Update 13 April 2010: The Supreme Court has now ruled that ten Winkel is not guilty. This was not surprising as the prosecutor at the Supreme Court had advised as such.
Keywords: Bebe Paña, Nuenen, NFI, Scotland Yard, Milroy, Kubat, suicide, Badian, Spong, ten winkel, de Bondt, van Engelshoven, Bebe, Paña, Jacobs