PHNOM PENH – Chea Pin a 35 Year old homeless man in Cambodia has confessed to two counts of murder for the killings of Dutch UN worker Daphna Beerdsen and her young daughter, Dana, who died in a Bangkok hospital more than a week after the April attack, during a hearing in Phnom Penh yesterday.
The defendant,Chea Pin, said at his hearing in Phnom Penh’s Municipal Court that “My purpose was to steal her bicycle. I did not go there intending to kill them,” he said.
The defendant,Chea Pin had just been released from prison about two weeks before the murders.
Daphna Beerdsen,worked as a consultant with the U.N., was alone with her daughter the day of the murder. Her husband, Joris Oele, who works for U.N. Habitat, was in Preah Sihanouk province for a work-related conference when the attack occurred.
Mr. Phin told the court that he did not specifically target Daphna Beerdsen’s house, but stumbled across the open gate on the afternoon of April 27 after drinking half a liter of rice wine.
“I saw a house with the door open and it was quiet,” Mr. Phin said. “I entered the house because I saw a bicycle I wanted to steal.”
He added that he had not intended to kill the victims, but reacted violently because Daphna Beerdsen had called for help.
“If I had not seen a bicycle, I would not have entered,” he said. “If she had not shouted, it would have been OK.”
Police said Daphna Beerdsen was stabbed six times with the screwdriver while her daughter received severe head trauma and stab wounds to her body. The toddler was airlifted on April 30
to Bangkok General Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
Police arrested Mr. Phin on the night of April 30 near Daun Penh district’s Wat Botum pagoda, and said he was in possession of the victim’s handbag and some personal documents. He also reportedly confessed to the murders after being arrested.
In court, Mr. Phin said he stole an Apple laptop, mobile phone, about $50 and the bicycle.
Seng Singheng, a lawyer working for the Child Protection Unit (CPU) who represented the victims, said outside court that the police had additional evidence other than Mr. Phin’s confession.
“We have footprints from the floor when he walked across the blood,” Mr Singheng said. “We also have handprints on the door and on the floor.”
Mr. Singheng added that a witness had reported seeing Mr. Phin riding Daphna Beerdsen’s bicycle to Wat Botum.
James McCabe, a senior investigator with the CPU, which aided police in the investigation, said even without Mr. Phin’s confession, police presented enough evidence to implicate him in the murders.
“There is [a] substantial amount of quality evidence before the court in this case,” Mr. McCabe said.
Kol Bon, a deputy municipal prosecutor, concluded Tuesday’s trial by asking the court to convict Mr. Phin to the fullest extent of the law.
“The suspect definitely committed the murder by stabbing the two victims,” Mr. Bon said. “I ask the court to punish him severely.”
Investigating Judge Nou Veasna is scheduled to deliver the verdict on December 24.
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