In court sits a woman in a black woolen coat, she wears her brown hair in a short pointy ponytail. When the suspect tells his story, she sometimes shakes her head indignantly. She is the victim in this case. “How did it come about that you cut her hair with a bread knife,” the judge asks the suspect, who is also the victim’s ex-boyfriend. He is suspected of attempting to intentionally inflict grievous bodily harm and has now been held in custody for fifteen months. “My first reaction to this is actually: none,” says Soufiane B. (26), a tall man with a black beard.
B. would have jumped straight through the window, tried to set her hair on fire and cut off parts of his ex’s hair with a knife. They were having a drink with the neighbours, he says when asked how the evening went. “We were not done talking so we went for a walk around the flat.” The victim shakes her head. “Then she offered me a glass of water through the window,” he continues. “That went down the wrong way with me (figuratively). I jumped in. We struggled. She dropped to her knees.” Then he cut off her hair. Why? “I was just angry.” The victim was terrified, she said.
The judge asks why Soufiane B. was angry. That is not what B. actually wants to say, after some insistence anyway. “I found out that my girlfriend was cheating with the neighbor.” The victim shakes her head. According to her, they were not in a relationship at the time. He denies that the two had broken up.
According to the victim, B. also tried to set her hair on fire. She said she heard a lighter click and smelled burning. B.: “She makes that up.”
In this case, it’s not just her story versus his. When the investigation had been underway for a while, it turned out that the children of the victim were awakened by the noise. The eldest daughter (13) saw what happened and threw a glass of water over her mother’s hair. The victim also has a sound fragment. She didn’t want to bring that up before, because she wanted to leave her daughters out of it.
What was the purpose of that knife, the judge wants to know. “Hurt her,” the suspect replies.
During the session it appears that B. does not want to talk about what happened then. He thinks the victim is making it too big. “We can talk about this forever, I can’t change anything anymore.” After a short silence: “Is this supposed to haunt me for so long?”
What was the purpose of that knife, the judge wants to know.
“Hurting her,” says B. A little later: “The joke is, a few weeks before she had told her that she had been cut in her sleep by a friend, while she did not want it.”
The judge asks whether B. has thought about what it all does to the lady.
“I supported Mrs. when I was detained,” he says firmly.
The victim lays her head on the table crying.
“I was super angry for the first three months,” she says when she gets the floor. “Then we started calling. I wanted to see if he was sorry or said sorry, but just nothing. You act like it, your hair will grow back too, you know.” Her voice breaks. “I’m not ready for therapy yet, I can’t talk about it. There’s a big chunk of stress in me. He was my best friend.”
Soufiane B. was examined at the Pieter Baan Center, where it was found that he has psychotic symptoms, which may have been triggered by substance use on the evening of the crime. He had drunk about five glasses of Bacardi Coke, and stated that he had snorted cocaine, as revealed by a drug test. He himself claims at the hearing that he does not use cocaine, but does come into contact with it “for his work” – according to him, that must be the reason that it was in his blood.
The court rules that abuse can be proven, and sentences B. to a restraining order of three years and ten months in prison – which he has already served.