UK businessman’s murderers to be flown back to Belgium

A couple that has been on the run the past 24 years after they killed a British businessman in the West Flemish coastal resort of De Haan are to be flown back to Belgium from Ivory Coast on Tuesday evening. The couple were detained in the West African country a few months ago.  Hilde Van Acker and Jean-Claude Lacote were convicted in their absence by a Belgian court of the murder of a British businessman in 1996. After they were detained in Ivory Coast the Belgian authorities immediately demanded the couple’s extradition.     

Hilde Van Acker agreed to be extradited as according to her lawyer she has breast cancer and her health is her primary concern. She needs radiotherapy, but has been unable to obtain it in Ivory Coast.

She and her partner Jean-Claude Lacote will leave Ivory Coast on a plane bound for Belgium tonight. The plane should touch down on Belgian soil on Wednesday morning.  

Murder at the seaside

In 1996 a British businessman was shot and murdered in the seaside town of De Haan. Hilde Van Acker and her partner, the notorious con man Jean-Claude Lacote, soon became suspects. Their motive was that the businessman had realised that he had been conned by Jean-Claude Lacote.  

At the end of 1996 the couple were released from custody. They absconded and started a new life in South Africa. A Belgian court convicted the couple of the businessman’s murder in their.

Since their conviction they have been on the Federal Police FAST Team’s “Most Wanted” list. Hilde Van Aker also appeared on Europol’s list of “Most Wanted Female Criminals”.