Early on Saturday evening 23-year-old Julie Van Espen left her home in Schilde (Antwerp province) to cycle the 15 or kilometres to Antwerp city centre where she had arranged to meet some of her friends. Julie never arrive and a search was launched to try and find her.
Steve Bakelmans who was seen on CCTV close to where Julie Van Espen’s mobile phone was traced for the final time soon become a prime suspect.
He was detained on Monday morning in Leuven (Flemish Brabant) later that day Julie Van Espen’s body was found in the Albert Canal in the Antwerp District of Merksem. Steve Bakelmans has since admitted to killing the 23-year-old student as he tried to sexually abuse her. He has two previous convictions for rape.