He announced it well in advance and relatives have regularly stopped him. But Monday morning Anthony’s father Arie actually added to the word: he set himself on fire in front of the town hall in Oss. “He was completely fed up and he showed that too. It could have been prevented. ”
Arie den Dekker had had a high-profile conflict with the municipality of Oss for two years. His home was torched in 2018, shortly after he made a statement about a liquidation that he witnessed. To ensure his safety, Arie was then housed at a campsite outside Oss.
Conflict with municipality
However, because Arie spoke to others about his whereabouts, the witness protection program was terminated. Arie ended up on the street and expected a replacement home from the municipality. He didn’t get it. “He was sent from box to wall,” says his son Anthony.
Anthony was called this morning at around 08:00. His father was on his way to Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen with severe burns. “Because he set himself on fire,” said Anthony. “Then your world collapses. That he has become so desperate with all the misery that he has done this. ”
Also read: Homeless man sets himself on fire in front of Oss town hall
Arie announced suicide
It was not a surprise to Anthony and other Arie family members. Anthony: “We saw it coming. He even announced it. Not only with me, also with other family members. We tried to convince him not to do it, but there was simply no turning back. ”
Despite his father’s many announcements, Anthony’s world collapsed Monday morning. “When I heard it, I immediately went home and then to Nijmegen. My father was still alive at the time, but was kept alive by artificial respiration. ”
Also read: Burnt man Oss announced ‘desperate suicide’ in voicemail: ‘It’s the end of the exercise’
Anthony was faced with the choice of ending his father’s life because he suffered so much. “But that is difficult. When do you do it right? I said I loved him and he died twenty seconds later, ”says Anthony, keeping it dry. “Fortunately, we did not have to make the choice ourselves.”
It is better that his father eventually died, Anthony realizes. “He was burned eighty percent, completely charred. Then he would have been in the nursing home. Then he would never have been able to do anything again. He was so burned. ”
Death was a statement
Arie’s act was a statement, according to his son. “He was completely fed up. He had to live as a bum for two years. My father lived on a Wajong benefit and he had actually lost it because he no longer had a registration address. No postal address. He was insured, he was thrown out there. So he was uninsured. Just misery. ”
Anthony is certain: if his father had got a house somewhere, it wouldn’t have come that far. Arie previously told his son that he wanted Anthony to “hold the municipality liable for what they did to me”. That’s exactly what Anthony is going to do. “Where my father left off, I continue. This must be investigated to the bottom. ”
Response from the mayor
Heart of the Netherlands the municipality of Oss asked several times on Monday for a response. The mayor eventually sent a self-recorded video with a short message. In it she says that she finds it horrible “to see that Mr. Den Dekker has laid hands on herself for the town hall”.
Mayor Wobine Buijs-Glaudemans also states that the municipality, together with the Public Prosecution Service and the police, has spent years helping Arie. “That took a lot of time. It took a lot of effort from everyone. It has cost a lot of money. ” She wishes the next of kin a lot of strength.
Talking about suicidal thoughts can be done anonymously via chat on www.113.nl or call 113 (usual telephone costs) or 0800-0113 (toll free)