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The BBC's Helen Wade
"Gross police incompetence"
 real 28k

Monday, 19 June, 2000, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Dutroux jailed for escape
Dutroux at earlier court hearing
Dutroux said escape was in protest at prison conditions
A court in Belgium has sentenced the alleged child killer and rapist Marc Dutroux to five years in prison on charges of theft and assault in connection with his escape from police custody two years ago.

Dutroux overpowered guards at a court building and then made off by car.

He was recaptured after less than two hours, but the political embarrassment was such that two government ministers resigned.

Marc Dutroux has been in prison for the past four years awaiting trial in connection with the abduction and murder of four young girls.

Belgium murders
The murder cases sparked widespread grief

Trying to escape detention is not a crime under Belgian law, so Dutroux was facing charges of making violent threats, assault and theft.

National grief

Dutroux has said he tried to escape to draw attention to what he described as unbearable conditions in prison.

What his escape did highlight was the complete failure of the authorities to guard him.

The charges of rape, torture and murder of the young girls brought Belgians to the streets in grief and anger at the failure of the authorities to save them.

In the meantime, the families of the young victims wait as the investigations into their murders drag on.

It is not thought Dutroux will face these charges until at least next year.

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