‘Black Widow’ fraudster posted lonely hearts ad then bullied husband into suicide to plunder his inheritance
A "BLACK Widow" has been sentenced to five years in jail after bullying her husband to death so she could inherit his estate.
The 73-year-old woman, known as Godelieve due to Dutch privacy laws, even pulled the ring off her dead husband’s hand to sell after discovering his body.
A court in Kasterlee, Belgium found her guilty of neglect after she failed to immediately alert emergency services after finding her husband's body.
Tragic Marcel Van Bouwel, 67, met the woman from Limburg, the Netherlands, after answering a lonely hearts ad.
Godelieve, dubbed "Black Widow" in the Dutch press, enticed the 67-year-old writing: "Sweet woman is looking for a sweet man" while sitting at his kitchen table drinking his morning coffee in March 2015.
His family’s lawyer told a court Mr Van Bouwel was dead just 103 days later.
A week after they met on March 23, 2015, he left everything to Godelieve in his will, and a week later they moved in together.
On May 14, the couple married in a double wedding.
It has not been revealed why they had a double wedding, or who the second couple were.
But shortly after the nuptials, the wife set about a campaign of abuse, the court was told.
DOMESTIC ABUSE: HOW YOU CAN GET HELP
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can find support for male survivors here.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
She destroyed her new husband’s self-worth, banning him from seeing his daughter and enjoying his hobbies.
The man also reportedly told a waitress Godelieve had been running after him with orange chord, and telling him to hang himself.
Not long after the cry for help, he died by suicide.
The court was told on the day she found her husband's body in their garage, she simply put his shoes in the rack and later called the emergency services.
Godelieve also pulled the wedding ring off his finger, telling the court that she wanted it as "a memento" – but on further questioning, it was revealed that she had sold it along with other belongings including jewellery that belonged to his first wife, Annie.
The victim's family said that not even 24 hours after his death, she put things in motion to inherit his estate.
Three days after his death, she also wrote to his daughter demanding property she believed belonged to her as part of her inheritance.
However, the will has since been annulled following her sentencing.
Godelieve was also handed an 18 month suspended sentence in October last year by a court in Antwerp after swindling a vulnerable couple out of thousands of euros.
She was found guilty of falsely claiming to be a lawyer and manipulating a couple with learning disabilities before stealing€55,000 (just under $50,000) from them.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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