The attack happened as a dispute on the E17 Ghent - Antwerp motorway escalated. The attacker was a passenger in a white van, his victim a motorist in a car.
In Sint-Niklaas the two vehicles left the motorway and the two men stepped out to pursue their dispute. In the end one of the two grabbed hold of a string trimmer and aimed it at the motorist injuring his leg. The motorist subsequently lost his leg.
The attacker says that he felt threatened and that this is why he wielded the string trimmer that is known in some cultures as a snipperwhipper. Later, and given the scale of the injuries, he conceded that he may not have been thinking straight.
The attacker's lawyer points to the fact that his client is hard of hearing: "He uses a hearing aid. In fact he didn't hear the dispute in its entirety and doesn't really know what was said."