My summers with Dutch murderer Morgan Schreurs
Barbara McCarthy describes how she ended up hanging out with one of Interpol's top 25 most wanted people
In June 2012 I read that Morgan Schreurs had been arrested in Croatia after a pan-European search by Interpol. He had murdered a 26-year-old mother of two in Belgium in cold blood in 1999 and went on the run for 13 years - five of which were spent in Ireland. I was completely shocked.
This was the very same Morgan I first met in Dublin in the summer of 2003. I was sitting with friends in The Globe, on Georges Street, and he sat down beside me and we got chatting. We talked about the Dutch football team and how the Dutch hated the Germans, among other things.
I thought he was a bit of craic and brought him to a friend's house afterwards. At some point in the night, a lodger who was staying in the flat announced that money had been stolen from her drawer. Morgan informed me straight away that it wasn't him, despite the fact he was the only stranger in the house. He was quite vigilant about it. I believed him at the time. Although I felt from the second I met him that there was a bang of dodge off him, my intuition informed me that he wasn't a threat to me.
He brought me and a few others to Out on the Liffey, on the Quays, afterwards. A popular bolthole back then, it was generally packed with party animals from all walks of life. I believe the Scissor Sisters frequented it occasionally - not the band, but the notorious Mulhall sisters, who killed their mother's boyfriend in 2005. They were mad times. Back then, Dublin was booming. Everyone was in great form. There was no negative equity, no bank debt, no Anglo talk.
There were fun and interesting people to meet and a sense of excitement I haven't felt since, plus I was young, without a care in the world, so I was out having the time of my life.
I didn't see Morgan regularly. He would just pop up here and there, call me from a private number and then show up randomly in a Holland T-shirt. I introduced him to all my friends. I remember he said he lived in Wexford and Athy at one point and worked as a roofer doing jobs across the country.
When he was in Dublin, I never knew where he stayed as he was mostly on the lash. He was insatiable. He knew loads of people and moved from one circle to the next whenever they were worn out. I read in the press that he was known as DJ Morgandroid and that he was DJ-ing, but I never heard him talk about it or, indeed, ever see him play. I did hear from friends that he was a great cook, once labouring for hours over a meal, which featured a 'to die for' chocolate souffle.
He was quite the ladies' man and had girlfriends all around the place, which I was surprised at, as he was quite dishevelled-looking - especially after a lengthy session.
I never heard that he had made unwanted advances at the time, though a friend recently informed me that he had been creepy with women, here and there. Had I got any information that he was being untoward, I would most definitely not have been in his company. Though I do remember another friend describing him as feral. He said he was asleep after a long weekend of indulgence and Morgan stood over him, waiting for him to wake up, ready for round two.
I never knew his second name, so we just called him 'Morgan schmorganschmorganborgan etc' much to his annoyance. He never left the country, not even to go home at Christmas, never had visitors from home and never spoke about his parents, bar telling me that his father had died. I was told he had a daughter, whose name he had tattooed in Sanskrit across his arm. She allegedly lived in India with friends. His daughter's mother, his ex-wife, had killed herself by jumping out of an apartment during a party.
I remember him telling me that he had been raised in a brothel, though as it turned out his parents were hippies, who spent a lot of time in hippie communes indulging in LSD. According to the Dutch newspaper Nieuwe Revu, Morgan grew up in South Amsterdam surrounded by creative, chilled-out types. His father, Hubertus Schreurs, is a well-known figure in the Dutch music scene and sang in a popular band called CCC.
I read that Morgan was an introvert child with a keen interest in sports, especially football and kickboxing. Unfortunately, his ambition took a battering when he started hanging out in coffee shops in his early teens. When the rave scene hit Europe in the early 1990s, he threw himself into it wholeheartedly and started recreationally using cocaine and ecstasy.
A knee injury ended a kickboxing career - which he had wanted so badly - and his drug abuse spiralled. He had informed me that he was a Thai boxing champion but I have no idea if it's true or not. It's difficult to know. By the mid-to-late 1990s, his friends were growing increasingly concerned by his erratic behaviour. He was becoming more and more anti-social, getting into knife fights and turning up with wads of cash only for gang members to look for him afterwards. He was also heavily involved with the Hells Angels and apparently had been on some kind of job with them which had gone wrong. I read that he had boasted about killing someone then, but it has never been confirmed. He relocated to Brussels, when too many people were after him in Amsterdam.
Then, on Saturday November 14 1999, he walked into a bar and met 26-year-old Jane Huepgen. She was the mother of two young boys, one was 10 months old and the other was four. She had recently been divorced and was out with a friend, while her husband minded the kids. According to eyewitnesses, they were seen drinking, dancing and having a great time. At 6am, they dropped her friend home and went back to her apartment.
It is presumed that she was having none of his advances, so he beat her violently over the head with a coal shovel and left her for dead on her bathroom floor. Her body was discovered by her father after her husband tried furiously to get into the apartment. Morgan, it appeared, not only killed her in cold blood, but also stole all her valuables, including her car, which was later found in the centre of town with her handbag and stereo in it. He fled Belgium, and subsequently Holland, and eventually ended up in Ireland, not to be seen by friends or family for 13 years.
The fact that he not only murdered her, but then stole from her and went back and forth to her apartment taking valuables is particularly chilling. I'm at a loss to think why he would kill an innocent woman. I had always thought he had a screwed-up past, with too much drugs and bad company, but that he was totally grand otherwise. I was never in regular contact with him, but when I saw him he was friendly and generous, so there was an overwhelming sense of disbelief.
He left Ireland around 2007 and moved to Croatia. I never heard from him after that, but some stories were circulating here that he owed money and that he had acquired a fake passport. I was glad I no longer had any contact with him. Now, when I look at the few photos I have, I get a chill down my spine. But I couldn't have known. To think that someone has murdered someone else is generally the last thing on your mind.
When I was a young child, I remember seeing Malcolm McArthur around my neighbourhood all the time with his son, chatting to people in his white suit and dickie bow. When he murdered a nurse in Phoenix Park and subsequently shot a farmer, everyone was utterly horrified. It just didn't seem to make sense. When Morgan was finally caught in the seaside town of Rojinji, in Croatia, he was shocked himself that people were still looking for him after all these years. I reckon it is much more difficult with social media to stay under the radar for so long.
Two years after being caught, Morgan Schreurs was finally sentenced to 25 years, with €37,350 in legal costs, in front of a judge and jury in the student town of Leuven, in Belgium.
The judge, Peter Hartoch, was reported as saying that his sentence was just. "He took the life of a lovely woman and great mother. The extraordinary severity of the attack, coupled with dangerous and anti-social behaviour, alongside a lack of respect for human life make this a very serious crime."
The Belgian newspaper HLN reported that his father was at the hearing.
He commented that Morgan's life took a turn for the worse after the suicide of his wife, but added that he had committed a gruesome crime and one which he was sorry for. He said that he hadn't seen him for 13 years, only reading in the press that he was on the run for murder.
It's heartening to see that in Belgium, people who take a life, get life.
In Ireland, however, Joe O'Reilly, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007 for the murder of his wife, Rachel, worryingly could get parole in seven years' time.