Dave De Kock has twice played a role in the death of a toddler

Dave De Kock, the babysitter of the 4-year-old boy from East Flanders that was found dead on a small island in the Dutch province of Zeeland on Monday evening has a previous conviction for child abuse. 34-year-old Mr De Kock was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his part in the death of his two-year-old stepson. The toddler died after suffering extreme physical abuse and inhumane treatment by Dave De Kock. The psychiatrist that examined him at the time said that his lack of any feeling of guilt for what he had done meant that there was little chance of therapy being of any use to Mr De Kock. 

The death of 2-year-old Miguel

The then 21-year-old Dave De Kock hadn’t been together with his then partner Sandra V. for long when he moved in with her and her 2-year-old son Miguel in 2008. In just 2 weeks the toddler suffered a series of vicious attacks at the hands of the De Kock. The toddler fell down the stairs, De Kock banged a vacuum cleaner into the boy’s head and threw him into bed from a distance so that he banged his head on the bars of the headboard. The toddler also “accidently fell” several times in the bathroom. During this period De Kock was often under the influence of drugs of medication.

On 25 June 2008 Miguel refused to eat. Dave De Kock grabbed him roughly to put him to bed. While attempting to put Miguel’s pajamas on De Cock didn’t unbutton the boy’s t-shirt. This forced the t-shirt up around Miguel’s neck. The 2-year-old was found chocking with his tongue between his teeth. He was then taken to hospital, where he died. 

Psychiatric report: “Anti-social personality disorder with low frustration tolerance”

2 years later at Dave De Kock’s trial a psychiatric report described him as having “an anti-social personality disorder with low frustration tolerance. When in a relationship the others aren’t compliant he employs several coping mechanisms. For example, he reacts to a non-compliant toddler in a sadistic way by throwing him into bed, pushing him down the stairs or putting him into a bath of cold water”.

The psychiatrist saw little if any psychotherapeutic possibilities for Dave De Kock as he had no realisation of guilt and doesn’t appear capable of taking responsibility for what he has done. Dave De Kock tried to blame his actions on his use of illegal drugs and medication, claiming that he acted out of a sense on powerlessness and frustration because Miguel had pushed him away.

Prison sentence and treatment for drug addiction

Dave De Kock was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served his sentence at Turnhout, Hasselt and Tilburg jails. While at Tilburg prison Dave De Kock asked to be sent to a psychiatric institution. However, a shortage of places meant that this wasn’t possible. 

He was taken to Ruiselede for treatment to help him overcome his drug addiction. He served his full sentence, the last year of which at home with an electronic tag. After his sentence had been served, he had no further contact with the Judicial Authorities or the Probation Service. 

The death of toddler Dean

14 years after the death of Miguel, Dean’s mother came into contact with Dave De Cock through his partner, who she had got to know at the psychiatric centre in Sint-Niklaas where she has been treated for depression since last November. Since then, Dave De Kock has often looked after her children who she says were “always really happy to see him. They made things and played games”.

Last week Dean stayed over at the home De Kock shares with his partner. When the little boy wasn’t taken to his grandmother’s home as agreed no one panicked as Dave De Cock had sent several reassuring messages, messages that in fact weren’t true. 

At the weekend the police were informed of Dean’s disappearance and an investigation was launched. Dave De Cock was apprehended, reportedly under the influence of drugs and/or medication in The Netherlands on Monday afternoon. 

A few hours later detectives found little Dean’s body on an island in the Dutch province of Zeeland. 

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