SEVEN Dutch teenagers and an adult man accused of kicking a football linesman to death at a junior league match have gone on trial in the Netherlands.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, a 41-year-old father of three, was attacked by players from an Amsterdam youth football club after officiating as a linesman in a football match on December 2 last year. He was hospitalised immediately but died a day later.
Seven teenagers and one father, identified only as "El Hasan D", appeared in court in the Dutch town of Lelystad yesterday, where they faced charges of manslaughter, public violence and brutality.
The prosecution argued yesterday that the actions of the eight accused caused Mr Nieuwenhuizen to collapse and subsequently die.
However, defence lawyers said pathologists had identified a tear in the linesman's carotid artery, which could have been the primary cause of death.
Christopher Milroy, a former Scotland Yard pathologist and defence witness at the trial, will testify that he could not rule out that Mr Nieuwenhuizen had already been suffering from carotid artery dissection – a separation of the artery walls – which is one of the most common causes of a stroke in young adults.
The prosecution has relied on evidence supplied by the Dutch forensic institute, which has concluded that Mr Nieuwenhuizen died from the injuries he sustained during the attack.
The attackers, including one 15-year-old, deny charges of manslaughter.
Mr Nieuwenhuizen had been acting as linesman for the Buitenboys club in the town of Almere when he was set upon. His own son had been playing in the match. Four youths were arrested immediately after the attack. Another three teenagers and one of their fathers, a 50-year-old, were arrested a few days later.
The accused face a maximum 15 years' imprisonment if convicted. The trial is expected to continue for five days. (© Independent News Service)