By Ambrose Evans – Pritchard
March 5, 2004
The Belgian judge who saved two young girls from Marc Dutroux’s paedophile dungeon broke down in the witness box yesterday, alleging high-level murder plots to stop his investigation into a child-sex mafia.
Jean-Marc Connerotte choked in tears on the fourth day of the trial, describing the bullet-proof vehicles and armed guards needed to protect him against shadowy figures determined to stop the full truth coming out.
“Never before in Belgium has an investigating judge at the service of the king been subjected to such pressure,” he said.
“We were told by police that [murder] contracts had been taken out against the magistrates. As the danger mounted, emergency measures were taken.”
He then froze in silence and the court was adjourned until he recovered.
He alleged that “organised crime methods” were used to discredit his work and ensure that his investigation ended in “judicial failure”.
A hero to millions of Belgians, Judge Connerotte was stripped of the Dutroux case after he had dinner with families of the victims in October 1996, which was deemed a conflict of interest.