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Old 06-10-2008, 11:10 AM   #39
PlasmaCannonsRule
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Default Re: The Interesting News Article Thread!!!!

Time to bump this thread! (note; an inappropriate part in this is why I'm not linking)


Police thought Louis Dethy had committed suicide until they opened a chest in his house in Charlerois, Belgium. Kim Willsher reports.
A reclusive pensioner who booby-trapped his home with the intention of killing his estranged family, died himself when he inadvertently triggered one of his own devices.
Belgian police have revealed that Louis Dethy, a retired engineer, had hidden a number of booby traps in walls, ceilings and household objects throughout his three-storey home. The traps appeared to be a revenge on the children and grandchildren he claimed had abandoned him.
At first Belgian police assumed the 79-year-old had committed suicide and bled to death from a gunshot wound to the neck after finding him at his home near the town of Charlerois. It was an assumption that nearly cost one detective his life as he searched the house and opened a booby-trapped wooden chest. A shotgun hidden inside went off, missing the policeman by centimetres.
The detectives called in military mine-clearance experts who, after unravelling a series of clues left in scribbled notes, uncovered a total of 19 death traps, among them an apparently harmless but lethal pile of dinner plates, the TV and even an exploding crate of beer.
"We have never come across anything like it before," said one of the experts. "It was all fiendishly clever. The house was booby-trapped from top to bottom. We've had to take everything apart."
To his neighbours in French-speaking Wallonie in the south of Belgium, Dethy appeared a harmless, God-fearing and taciturn character who spent his retirement pottering about in his garage. He had built his chalet-style brick and timber home in the 1960s and installed his family there.
Here in the heart of conservative, Catholic Belgium, few were surprised that the churchgoing couple produced 14 children - 10 girls and four boys. But his strong religious beliefs did not prevent him from [angering his wife, and when he did], she walked out, taking the children. Dethy then retreated into a reclusive existence.
"Good morning and good evening was about all you'd get out of him," said one neighbour. "We only saw him when he left the house to go shopping or church or when he worked in the garage."
Relatives say he never forgave his wife for divorcing him, or his 14 children and 37 grandchildren for having little to do with him. His bitterness grew into a desire for revenge when even his mother became estranged from him.
The family house had been built by Dethy on land and with materials paid for by his mother. When she turned against him, she bequeathed the property to one of his daughters, Jeanne, 49.
Four years ago he lost a lengthy legal battle to overturn her will and at that point, the detectives believe, he set about installing the traps, most of them using concealed 12-bore shotguns triggered by barely-visible nylon threads or fishing line. His thinking appeared to be that if he were evicted, he would ensure that the new owner would not live to enjoy the house.
The military engineers found that Dethy had numbered and catalogued each device and left coded notes for the whereabouts of each.
Whether the notes were reminders for himself or cryptic clues for his family or police is not known.
One scrap of paper containing the words "le vin est tire", a play on the French word tirer (to pull or shoot), led to a trap in the cellar, while another was discovered in a crate of beer, designed to set off a shotgun when a certain number of bottles were removed.
Dethy's daughter Jeanne, said family members were convinced they were the intended victims. "He hated us," she said.
"Father was a strange and cold man, but he was very ingenious and he put his ingenuity to bad use. "He wanted to kill us all. Instead he was caught out by one of his own traps."
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