Transcript: 91. The Honeymoon Killers | Belgium

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In the early morning hours of May 11th 1995 police in Calvi, Corsica received a distressing call. Two American tourists were driving along one of the island’s treacherous roads when they were flagged down by a woman. She said her husband had accidentally driven over a cliff and the car had crashed on a beach below. She was thrown clear of the vehicle before it went down and was hysterical. 

Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene and found the inconsolable woman. She identified herself as 25-year-old Aurore Martin, from Belgium and told police that she was on her honeymoon with her new husband, 36-year-old Marc Van Beers. They were out on a late-night scenic drive when the freak accident happened.

Corsica’s cliffside roads are riddled with bends and sharp turns. The only thing stopping a car from plummeting down the steep rock faces is a low wall. At intermittent stretches, there is no railing at all. The road where the honeymooners’ accident had taken place was hazardous for someone unfamiliar with the area.

Aurore was taken to hospital for shock and to treat the minor injuries, mainly scratches and bruises. Her husband’s body was recovered the following morning.

It was an unspeakable tragedy, one Marc Van Beers’ family struggled to come to terms with. They took their new daughter-in-law into their family, knowing that is what their son and brother would have wanted. However, the glamorous Aurore did not want to have anything to do with her deceased husband’s family.

Nagging suspicions caused the Van Beers to asks questions. Questions that could not be answered. They eventually approached Belgian police who also felt that something about Marc’s death didn’t add up. Then investigators learnt about a similar accident in their home country of Belgium that took place three years before. That is when they knew there was more to Marc Van Beers’ untimely death than met the eye…

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Marc Van Beers was a Belgian businessman who lived in Brussels. He was a qualified CPA who had achieved success as a tax consultant at a financial services firm. Marc had worked very hard to further his career and did not have much of a social life beyond his circle of family and close friends. He was an introverted person, did not feel comfortable meeting women in night clubs or bars, but nearing his forties, he felt that he was ready to meet someone and start a family. So he enlisted the services of a well-reputed matchmaking company. He was honest and upfront about what he was looking for: he was ready to start a family and wanted someone who was ready to settle down. Aurore was equally forthcoming, stating that she was looking for someone who was not overweight, had financial means and owned a home.

Marc was over the moon when he was set up with a beautiful aspiring actress, Aurore Martin. They hit it off immediately and before long Marc was head over heels in love. It seemed to be a case of ‘opposites attract’ – Marc was a shy person who enjoyed his own company and Aurore was a sporty extrovert who loved socialising. Marc came from a large family, whereas Aurore’s parents had both passed away. She was beautiful and spontaneous, and Marc felt like anything was possible with Aurore by his side.

The Van Beers family were sceptical about the relationship at first, but when they saw how happy Aurore made Marc, they took her in as their own daughter. Everything seemed perfect, and after seeing each other for only six months, Marc proposed.

They got married in Brussels on the 11th of March 1995, a year after they met. All of Marc’s extended family was there, but on Aurore’s side, she only invited her sister. The newlyweds waited for three months before going on their honeymoon. They had chosen the French Island of Corsica, a gem in the Mediterranean known for its rugged landscape and azure water. In the first week of May, they checked into a hotel in Calvi for a romantic week. 

The week was relaxing and exciting, and Marc felt that life simply couldn’t get any better. They strolled the cobblestoned streets and enjoyed late dinners overlooking the harbour, dreaming about their future together. But things were about to change… On the night of 10 May, they took a romantic drive in their rented Nissan up the mountain to the Notre Dame de la Serra. But they never made it back again.

On the way back, Marc lost control of the car and drove over a cliff – the car plummeting to the rocky beach below. Aurore managed to escape at the last minute, but Marc was not so lucky. 

When police arrived at the scene, she was inconsolable. She told police that they had gone out for a late dinner and then decided to drive to the Norte Dame de La Sera – a scenic spot at the top of a cliff, where lovers often went. On the way back, they took the wrong road. When her husband realised, he turned the car around but misjudged the distance to the edge of the cliff, and the car went down the hill. She managed to open the door and escape.

During questioning, the young bride was hysterical and urged police to go and look for her husband. Emergency workers gave her Valium to calm her down. They asked her to talk them through what had happened once again. This time, strangely, Aurore gave a different version to the first one. She said that an animal appeared on the road and Marc swerved to avoid hitting it. Marc was in the car as it went over the edge, but she managed to get out. According to Aurore, she immediately climbed down the 140m cliff face to look for her husband. He was inside the car, but he was unresponsive. That is when she decided to drag him to the edge of the water, as far away from the car as possible, in case leaking fuel would cause an explosion. She was unable to revive him, so climbed back up to the road to go for help.

Searchers were puzzled by her story. When they first arrived, they tried to climb down the cliff, but it was impossible without proper equipment. Aurore's claim that she had climbed down unassisted, in the dark, immediately came under question. They also noted that she wasn't wearing any shoes and her feet were unscathed… Climbing down the rugged terrain would have caused many cuts and scratches, without a doubt.

She was taken away in the ambulance to be treated for shock and other minor injuries. Rescuers were supplied with climbing equipment, and they made their way to where Marc's rental car was lying on its roof. 

When they reached the scene, there was no sign of Marc. On the driver's seat was a copious amount of blood and brain matter. They followed a trail of blood droplets to the water's edge, but he wasn't there. Police divers waited till dawn before they went into the ocean. Five hours later, they recovered Marc's severely injured body in three-metre deep water, about 50 metres from where the car had landed. Most of his injuries were to his head, in fact, his face was unrecognisable. 

Corsica authorities ruled Marc's tragic death an accident and prepared his remains for repatriation to Belgium. As soon as his widow arrived back home, she was hospitalised to recover from the shock. 

Marc's family made a start with the funeral arrangements to help Aurore. Much to their surprise, she insisted Marc had to be cremated as soon as possible. She told his family that they had discussed death on their honeymoon, and he had told her he preferred to be cremated. However, his family intervened and said he never mentioned that to any of them. In Belgium, one has to make an official declaration to your local council if you want to be cremated. Marc had not done this. So Aurore's request was overruled, and Marc was buried.

Marc's family struggled to come to terms with Marc's unexpected death and did not quite believe Aurore's story about what had happened. Something didn't add up, and they refused to accept it. They approached Belgian police, requesting they looked into it. However, without any substantial evidence and the fact that authorities in Corsica had already ruled it to be an accident, investigators had their work cut out for them. 

A colleague of Marc's came forward, saying that in the time leading up to the accident, Marc had confided in him. At the accounting firm where they worked, Marc always handled valuable clients with deep pockets. According to the colleague, Marc had told him that one of the clients had some dubious dealings. He wanted Marc to do something he did not feel comfortable with, and Marc had the feeling that saying NO was not an option and if he did… He would have had reason to be concerned for his safety.

The Van Beers family tried to take care of Aurore in the aftermath of Marc's death, but after the disagreement about his cremation, she did not want to have anything to do with them. It was hurtful and frustrating, as they were looking for answers about his death. Being the only witness, any information she could give would have been helpful.

But there was a reason Aurore was avoiding her in-laws. Without notifying them, she sold Marc's house for 125,000 EUROS. She also did not waste any time in collecting the life insurance money owed to her after the tragic death of her husband. However, contrary to what would have been advice from a financial savvy Marc, she did not invest the money, nor did she use it simply to get by. On the contrary, the first thing she did was to get a nose job.

By chance, Marc's uncle read an article in a newspaper about a three-year-old case that sent chills down his spine… It was about an accident that was almost sounded identical to Marc's. Young bride, Ursula Deschamps tragically died when her husband's car plunged into a canal near Mons in Belgium. The husband escaped the wreckage unharmed. The Van Beers family presented the information to the police. Although there was no definitive link between the two accidents, Belgian authorities agreed to investigate and opened an official investigation one year after Marc's death. 

Belgian police visited Aurore at her new home to questioned her. During the interview, Aurore was emotional as she told them everything about Marc's last night alive… They had a late dinner in Calvi, then went for a drive to the church at the top of the hill. She told Belgian police the second version of her story that an animal crossed the road and Marc swerved to avoid hitting it. 

Although Aurore's story seemed believable and she appeared to be a grieving widow, investigators had a feeling she knew more than she was saying. Fortunately, her desire to have Marc cremated was not fulfilled, so police were able to exhume him. Because his body was expatriated, extra precaution was required for hygiene reasons, for instance, his coffin was lined with metal. Because of this, his body had been well preserved, and the pathologist was able to collect vital forensic evidence.

The autopsy revealed something that would change this case forever. Marc had a massive injury to his skull, caused by a blunt instrument, like a hammer or a rock. There was no blood on any of the wounds sustained during the crash. This meant that by the time the car was driven over the cliff, Marc was no longer alive. 

And there was more… Marc's stomach was empty, refuting Aurore's statement that they had had a late dinner in the hours leading up to the accident. Why would she lie?

A Belgian motor vehicle accident specialist was sent to Corsica to investigate the incident further. He spoke to local services who recovered the vehicle after the accident, as well as witnesses who arrived at the scene.

From the onset, it was significant that the accident occurred on the only stretch of road that had no guard wall. It was only a short distance of about 13 metres. Investigators also wondered why Marc would have turned the steering wheel towards the precipice and not the other way. 

What the accident specialist found, was that Aurore Martin's version of events did not match the evidence. If Marc had swerved as she told police, the car would have landed in the water straight ahead, not at the bottom of the cliff, almost at a 90-degree angle to the right. The trajectory did not add up. 

Also, there were no skid-marks on the tarmac, showing that Marc hit the brakes. In an incident where an animal walks out onto the road, the expected reaction is slamming on the brakes and turning slightly. This was not the case at the scene in Corsica.

There was another issue that concerned the investigator…. An out-of-control vehicle would have marked a path downhill. But the shrubs and bushes heading down the hill were undisturbed. Instead, the plants at the top of the cliff were flattened, indicating the car was stationary before it went down. The report concluded that the vehicle was pushed down, from the shoulder of the road. Inca reconstruction, they also proved that it would not have been possible for the passenger to have opened the car door while the car was moving. 

Rescuers from that night told the investigator about something that had been bothering them… The story that his wife dragged Marc’s body from the car did not make any sense. She had a small, slender frame. Marc was tall and weighed about 30kgs more than her. His autopsy also did not show any signs that he had been dragged over rocks. However, at the scene, a trail of blood drops told another story: Marc was moved, yes, but he was carried. There is no way Aurore Martin would have been able to do this, even in an adrenalin-fuelled state.

Her story was untruthful. And not only did she lie about the circumstances of Marc’s death, but she was also most likely responsible for it. And she did not act alone: someone helped her.

Detectives looked deeper into Aurore Martin’s background and discovered that she had lied to Marc about her past. She was not a trust-fund baby with a good education who had sadly severed ties with her family, everyone except for her sister. Instead, she came from a broken home and was raised by her grandparents, because her mother was too violent. As a teen, she lived with her emotionally abusive father. She was a high school drop-out from Liège who left home at the age of 16 so she could party. To fund her expensive taste, she worked as a call-girl. One of her friends told police that she was out to find herself a rich husband so she could have a comfortable life. But being a gold digger is no crime. 

The strongest evidence to convince investigators Marc’s death was more than likely a homicide, were the life insurance policies Marc took out in the months leading up to his death. Aurore Martin was the beneficiary on all seven of them. 

One clause on the seventh policy – that is one for 250,000 EURO – caught investigators’ attention: if Marc were to die from an accident, the payout would double in value. It also did not declare that Marc was diabetic, something Marc would not ever have tried to hide. The signature on this policy did not match Marc’s – it was forged, most likely by Aurore Martin.

The fact that they were married three months before leaving on their honeymoon made investigators believe that she used this time to convince Marc to take out the policies, one after the other. But greed got the better of her… 

The investigation yielded a tip from one of Aurore Martin’s friends, who said that there was another man in her life. Aurore’s stepmother came forward after she split from Aurore’s father and confirmed the story. She told police that Aurore had confessed to her that she had killed Marc for the life insurance money. The stepmother was also a vital witness in providing police with the name of Aurore’s lover, Peter Schmitt. They had planned the whole sordid affair and executed it to perfection. Aurore was very proud of herself, as she felt she had pulled off the con of the century. 

Police were able to trace the money from Marc’s insurance police payouts into a bank account in Luxembourg in the name of Aurore Martin with Peter Schmitt as co-signee. Schmitt was a German national from the town of Troisdorf near Bonn, who lived in Belgium. He worked as a driver in the NATO military base near the city of Mons.

Police were able to establish that the two met in 1991 when they took a rock climbing class together. This was long before Aurore ever met Marc Van Beers. Their paths crossed again in February 1993 – at a strip club in Liège where Aurore worked. What followed was a passionate affair fuelled by lust and greed. 

Peter was well-off financially, in fact, he didn’t seem to work at all, yet he always had money. Aurore was intrigued by his source of income and kept asking him. Eventually, he relented and confided in her that he had made some right decisions in the past and that it had paid off handsomely. 

In 1992, he met foreign language student, Ursula Deschamps at a nightclub in Waterloo. He was a handsome young man who always wore his military uniform with pride and looked impeccable. Her family liked him, enjoyed his somewhat quirky nature, and thought they were a great match. The always-smiling Peter was always on the go and loved sports. He did not speak much French, and Ursula did not speak German or English, but they got by.

They were inseparable, so much so that four months later, against her parents’ advice, they got married. Both bride and groom were 22 at the time. But once the papers were signed and the excitement had worn off, things changed. Peter became possessive and controlling of Ursula. He was rarely home, and when he was, he would have violent outbursts, shouting at Ursula about anything and everything. Her sister witnessed one of his outbreaks and feared for Ursula’s safety.

Ursula discovered a lot of cash hidden in Peter’s wardrobe and confronted him. With the money was a fake passport and Peter could not explain why it was in his possession. Instead, he turned it around on her, blaming her for going through his personal stuff. Ursula didn’t trust him anymore and managed to find out that her new husband was involved in a car insurance scam. 

She realised that the sooner she got out of the marriage, the better. She and told her family that her intention was to file for divorce. Ursula had received a summons from police, asking her permission to be questioned about her husband. She agreed, and they set up a meeting. But before she had a chance to speak to the police, she was dead. 

On Peter’s insistence, Ursula agreed to meet him one last time, to finalise the divorce. He picked her up from Mons station in his convertible Mazda MX5. They went to his house, and then they left again around 9:15. According to Schmitt, they headed out because he had promised he would teach her how to drive. During the lesson, a tragic accident occurred.

At 10pm on Saturday night, August 29, 1992, Peter Schmitt's car was driven into a canal just outside of Mons. Miraculously, Peter escaped through the rear window. Once the vehicle had disappeared under the water, he could not find Ursula anywhere, he realised it was too late, so he swam ashore to save his own life.

Police divers found the car the next day, at the bottom of the canal, lying on its roof. There was no trace of Ursula. Her sister was convinced Ursula had survived and that she was hiding because she was afraid of Peter. She was an excellent swimmer; she could have made her way to safety. Perhaps police took her into protective custody. Sadly this wasn't the case, and Ursula's body was found in the canal – 800 yards from the car wreckage, four days after the accident. Her cause of death was drowning. 

Peter Schmitt had different accounts of the accident. In the one he said he saw her head above the water for a brief moment, then she vanished. In another statement, he said he tried to unclasp her seatbelt, but it jammed, and she went down with the car. In a reconstruction of the accident, investigators asked Peter to show them how he had climbed through the canvassed back window of his convertible Mazda. He tried a couple of times but failed to get out. He could not explain why he was unable to get out on dry land when he had managed to do so from a submerged car. 

When Ursula's family learnt that Peter had taken out a policy on Ursula's life a month before her death, they knew he had something to do with her death. Police also didn't buy his story about escaping the sinking car and swimming to safety. When they arrived at the scene, his clothes weren't even wet. He also did not show any signs of trauma or sadness about losing his wife of only six months.

Peter Schmitt was charged with Ursula's murder. An expert witness testified for the defence, confirming that evidence in a recreation of the crash aligned with Schmitt's version of events. Schmitt pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, saying that Ursula died because of his negligence, that it was an accident. In the end, he only received a three-month suspended sentence and a fine – which he never paid. Despite being accused of his wife's murder, Schmitt was still able to claim the life insurance and received the sum of $500,000. He left the army and became a man of leisure.

Ursula's family was outraged. They were convinced that Peter was guilty and they had to watch him walk free.

Then… Three years later, a man called Marc Van Beers died under eerily similar circumstances. In both cases, the driver lost control of the car, and it ended up in the water. The passenger managed to escape with minor injuries. Neither victim was found inside the vehicle. And most significantly, both were recently married and had life insurance policies made out to their spouses.

Investigators theorised that Peter Schmitt seduced Aurore Martin and convinced her to repeat the same life insurance fraud con he had committed with Ursula. They firmly believed that he was the one who had orchestrated the whole scam and she was his willing participant. When the press learnt about the link between Peter and Aurore, they named them The Diabolical Lovers.

Police were onto Aurore Martin and felt they had enough circumstantial evidence to arrest her. But they were too late, she was no longer in Belgium. With their suspicion that Peter Schmitt was her accomplice, they went looking for him, but he too was gone. Belgian authorities alerted Interpol, and an international warrant for their arrest was issued.

Meanwhile, the lovers were living it up in Miami, Florida. They took the $500,000 from Ursula's life insurance, as well as the $1.3 Million from Marc's life insurance and the sale of his house to finance their lavish lifestyle. The diabolical pair lived in a luxurious high rise on Collins Avenue and dined at the best restaurants. They had parties on yachts, served caviar and lobster.

Peter Schmitt worked as a luxury car and yacht salesman. Aurore Martin made sure they mixed with the right people in Miami's social scene, possibly scoping out their next possible victims. They never used any credit cards and used large amounts of cash to pay rent and purchase other luxuries. They were very difficult to track down. 

When Brussels prosecutor Damien Vandermeersch learnt about their whereabouts, US Marshalls were given the urgent request to hunt them down. Which they did, but yet again, the lovers from hell were two steps ahead. By the time the Marshalls located their apartment, they were gone. There was no sign of their cars and yacht was nowhere to be found. What had tipped them off was an article in a French newspaper about Belgian police looking for them. It spooked them, and they decided to keep on moving.

They fled to the Bahamas, where they laid low for two months before returning to the US. Back in Miami, they sold all their belongings because they were running out of cash. Miami Police managed to track down their yacht, a vessel sardonically called 'To Life!' – but there was no sign of Peter Schmitt or Aurore Martin, they had sold it to an unsuspecting local yachting enthusiast. The new owner said that he had purchased it from them, for a very good price. He still owed some money, and Schmitt had called him and threatened to kill him if he didn't pay up.

They looked at the new owner's phone records and could see that Peter's calls were all made using payphones. They staked out the phones used to call the man and hit pay dirt. After a short chase, they caught him before he could get into his car and drive away and took him in. At the time of his arrest, he had a money belt with $50,000 cash on him. He refused to reveal Aurore's location and said that if he didn't return, she was instructed to end her own life. 

Police knew they had to find her before then and processed Peter Schmitt's car for clues. They found a receipt from a workshop for a repair done the week before. The shop owner said that the couple who owned the car was, in fact, subletting his apartment from him. They were able to get to Aurore before she hurt herself and she did not resist arrest. In fact, she broke down in tears and told them how relieved she was. She claimed that Peter Schmitt was the mastermind behind Marc's murder and that she felt trapped in her relationship with him. Like Peter, she also had about $50,000 on her at the time of her arrest.

It was November 1997 and the international manhunt was finally over – after two whole years. Both Aurore and Peter had altered their appearance: he had a beard and longer hair, she had dyed her blonde hair brown and received breast implants. Both wore glasses. 

When she was questioned by American interrogators, Aurore cried and said she couldn’t remember details of Marc’s accident. She was incoherent about why she had left Belgium. Her interrogators saw through her charade and knew that she did not answer because she was not sure what Peter was saying during his interrogations. Eventually, Aurore chose to practice her right to remain silent. 

It was clear that Peter was a manipulator. He was an intelligent sociopath and egoist and would not stop at anything to achieve his goals of self-enrichment. 

The Diabolical Lovers were called the Honeymoon Killers by the American press. They remained in US custody, trying every means possible to avoid extradition. The complication was that US authorities were reluctant to extradite the pair to Belgium for a crime committed in Corsica, which is under French Law. After a year of legal acrobatics, the duo announced that they would no longer resist. 28-year-old Aurore Marin and 27-year-old Peter Schmitt were extradited to Belgium in 1998, accompanied by Belgian officials.

The trial was based on circumstantial evidence, mainly surrounding Aurore’s actions and confessions after Marc’s murder. 

One of Peter’s friends came forward and made a statement. He said that Peter had confessed to killing Ursula. According to the friend, Peter told him the car went into the water, and both him and Ursula escaped. Ursula instinctively went to Peter so they could swim out together (as she was a qualified lifeguard). When she reached him, he plunged her head underwater until she was no longer conscious. He left her in the water and swam away. Before he walked out onto the road to flag a car down for help, he rubbed his fingers on Fisherman’s Friends (strong menthol lozenges), then rubbed his eyes, so it would look like he had been crying.

Unfortunately, none of this could be used in court in Marc Van Beers’ case. According to Belgian law, a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice. Peter had already been sentenced for Ursula’s murder and received his punishment, albeit it a very light one.

The only evidence that linked Schmitt to Marc Van Beers’ murder, was the testimony of Aurore Martin’s step-mother. But prosecution felt it was enough to charge him. In the step-mother’s statement, she also said that Aurore went so far as to say that her and Schmitt had done ‘better than with Ursula’ by conning Marc, thereby implicating herself in Ursula’s murder too. But police could not prove that she was involved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The trial started in September 2001, and the Diabolical Lovers arrived together, holding hands. Both pleaded not guilty. The prosecution argued that although Peter Schmitt was the mastermind of the murder plot, Aurore Martin was a more than willing accomplice. When she heard how Schmitt had made his fortune, she targeted Marc with the sole intention of committing life insurance fraud. Schmitt may have been the inspiration, but she was every bit as involved in setting up her marriage to Marc, knowing exactly how it was going to end.

From witness testimonies, police were able to conclude what really happened in Corsica on the night of Marc’s murder. While he was out on a scenic drive with his wife Aurore, she asked him to pull the car over, as she wasn’t feeling well. She got out to throw up, and he got out to care for her. That is when a second car pulled up with Peter’s alleged ‘three German friends. They launched an attack with a baseball bat. Once Marc was no longer conscious, they placed him back in the car and pushed it over the cliff. 

Ironically, Marc’s last words were: 

“Please don’t hurt my wife.”

The prosecution contended that Schmitt was in Corsica at the same time as Aurore and Marc and alleged that he was there with three German friends. However, they could never find any documentation to definitively prove that he was in Corsica at the time. But bear in mind that before her death, Peter’s wife Ursula discovered false identity documents with Peter’s photo on it. It was quite probable that he had travelled to Corsica using a fake ID. Also, when interrogated by police, Peter could not recall where he was in May 1995, so he had no alibi that could have exonerated him. 

Peter Schmitt testified in his own defence and claimed that he and Aurore Martin broke up in 1994 before Marc was in the picture. They only rekindled their relationship after his death. He said:

“After our breakup in 1994, Aurore resumed contact with me in mid-1995. She called me because she had just received a big amount of money which she did not know how to manage. I advised her to place it in Luxembourg, and she followed my advice. She decided to ask me because she thought I was an honest man.” 

The courtroom erupted in cynical laughter.

What investigators were able to establish, however, was that Schmitt had been on the South of France six months before Marc Van Beers’ accident. He sent post cards to his family in Germany, significantly, he sent one from Bonifacio in Corsica. The theory was that he had gone on a recon mission, to find the best spot for the accident to occur. Bear in mind, this was before Marc and Aurore were even married.  Peter’s brother testified, saying that Aurore had accompanied Peter to a family dinner during the time she was with Marc. Peter denied this, saying his brother was confused about the date. 

In a case with so many manipulations, lies and half-truths, one can only but wonder if Peter’s ‘German friends’ even exist. Aurore, labelled as a fantasist by a prison psychologist, lied about everything else, why would the story of the three assailants be true? Could it have been possible for one person to beat an unsuspecting Marc Van Beers with a bat, place him back in the car, push the car over the cliff, climb down the cliff, take Marc’s body from the car and carry him to the water’s edge? Peter Schmitt was a muscular man with experience in rock climbing. Marc never saw his attacker coming, he had no chance of defending himself. There probably were no other accomplices. Chances are, only two people were present on that fateful night in Corsica: Peter Schmitt and Aurore Martin.

The jury deliberated for six hours before returning two guilty verdicts. Aurore Martin was given a 15-year sentence for her role in her husband’s murder. Peter Schmitt, as the mastermind of the killing, received 20 years.

Aurore Martin was released in 2007 after serving six years. These days she lives in Waalse Visé, where she teaches French as a foreign language. Peter Schmitt was released one year later, having served only seven of his twenty-year sentence. He was sent back to his homeland Germany, where he found work as a carpenter. The condition of their release was that they were not allowed to have any contact with each other – Peter Schmitt was also refused entry into Belgium until 2017. 

The most unsettling thought about this case is that they could have gotten away with it. Actually, they very nearly did. If Aurore Martin had managed to keep her story straight and only given one version of the circumstances surrounding the accident, there would have been less suspicion in the initial stages of the investigation. If she had waited before cutting ties with Marc’s family, they would not have suspected her of wrong-doing. If she had waited before cashing in the life insurance policies... But she didn’t. If she could have been more calculating and revealed less, as her lover, this could very well have been a perfect crime… 

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