Europe

Dutch linesman death: Teens and father sentenced

Funeral for Dutch amateur linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen. 10 Dec 2012
Image caption Hundreds lined the streets for Richard Nieuwenhuizen's funeral

Six teenagers and the father of one of them have been found guilty of kicking a volunteer linesman to death in the Netherlands.

The court in Lelystad sentenced the 50-year-old father to six years in prison.

Five teenagers were sentenced to two years in youth detention and another was sentenced to one year. All seven are expected to appeal.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was attacked after a match between two junior teams near Amsterdam last December.

He managed to get up but collapsed later and died in hospital the following day.

Witnesses described how he was set upon following the match involving his son's football team, SC Buitenboys, and Nieuw Sloten.

The adult and the six teenagers were found guilty of manslaughter, public violence and brutality. An eighth suspect, also 15, was acquitted of the killing but sentenced to 30 days' detention for assault.

The defence had claimed that father-of-three Mr Nieuwenhuizen had died of a pre-existing medical condition.

Judges, however, agreed with the prosecution that he died as a direct result of being kicked in the head and neck.

"The conclusion is that the violence the suspects committed is the reason for Nieuwenhuizen's death," the court ruling said.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen's widow, Xandra, welcomed the sentences. "This verdict gives us some kind of closure," she said.

Following the attack, professional football clubs across the Netherlands observed a minute's silence before their games and players wore black armbands.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Almere, east of Amsterdam, for Mr Nieuwenhuizen's funeral in December, many dressed in the blue and white colours of his son's club.

The BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague says amateur teams have since introduced a new code of conduct in the hope that such an incident will never happen again.

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