A family member of Oliver Van Den Bogaert – the Belgian national suspected in the murder and rape of a 25-year-old French tourist earlier this year in Kampot province – is speaking out for the first time in defence of his relative and providing more information about Van Den Bogaert’s whereabouts on crucial dates related to the investigation.
“It’s 100 per cent clear to us that he didn’t do it,” Oliver’s brother Ian said, speaking from Belgium. “We just want a trial based on facts.”
Ian Van Den Bogaert said that on April 10, the day that someone supposedly saw Oliver throw the victim’s bicycle in the water, he spent the day with a Belgian businessman, who is “prepared to come over [to Cambodia] and confirm this if necessary.”
He added that his brother had been sick around the time that the Frenchwoman, Ophélie Begnis, pedalled out of her resort in Kampot on February 9 and disappeared. Her naked and lifeless body was found the next day in the estuary that runs through Kampot town.
“He left maybe two or three times, maybe a half-hour, he wasn’t feeling well. I don’t think there was any murder in half-an-hour,” he said.
“I think it’s awful what happened to that girl. That’s the most important thing.”
Based on witness statements, the court charged Oliver on April 26 with “murder preceded or followed by torture, cruelty or rape”. The 41-year-old, who sold off his guesthouse Olly’s Place at the end of last year and was planning on leaving Cambodia, denies the charges.
An investigating judge was supposed to question him yesterday in Kampot provincial court, but according to his lawyer, a change in translators caused a delay. There was no new date set.
Additional reporting by Kim Sarom