Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 20 November 2014

Skydiver ‘murdered love rival by sabotaging parachute’

A skydiver accused of killing her love rival by sabotaging her parachute went on trial in Belgium yesterday.

Prosecutors say jealousy drove Els Clottemans to kill Els Van Doren, with whom she shared a passion for skydiving and a lover.

Clottemans (26) denies the murder charges and accusations that she killed Van Doren to have the lover, another Dutch skydiver, to herself.

The case has captured the imagination of Belgians since Van Doren fell 13,000ft into a suburban garden in eastern Belgium after her parachute did not open on November 18, 2006.

A married mother-of-two and skydiving enthusiast, Van Doren had jumped from a plane with Clottemans, their Dutch lover and another skydiver.

Clottemans jumped a fraction too late and did not join in airborne stunts with the other three. When the sign was given to open the parachutes, Van Doren struggled with the cords, before hurtling toward the ground.

Clottemans became a prime suspect when she attempted suicide hours before she was to make a second statement to police, a month after the incident. The investigation revealed that Clottemans had a relationship with the same skydiver as Van Doren.

Prosecutors allege that Clottemans tampered with Van Doren's parachute, cutting two vital cords.

The trial continues.

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