Assize: 23 years in prison for killing the girlfriend in the dunes of Zeebrugge

Assize: 23 years in prison for killing the girlfriend in the dunes of Zeebrugge

On August 17, 2010, children of Swiss tourists discovered a hand sticking out of the sand in the dunes of Zeebrugge. An exact cause of death could not be determined during the autopsy. The young woman’s identity also remained a mystery for years. It was only in February 2013, thanks to her mother’s DNA, that it was discovered that it was Milena Raycheva.

“Fears that the relationship would come true”

From that moment, her friend Kenan Bulut came into the sight of the detectives. According to the Raycheva family, he feared that his family would discover that he had a relationship and a son with Milena. The accused was first arrested on 21 January 2015 at his ex-wife’s home in Rotterdam. Bulut stated that he last saw the victim in Calais on August 1, 2010. The intention was to take a trip to London by ferry. Bulut said he was queuing to get tickets when his girlfriend texted that she had left the car. According to the defendant, the victim even got away with 7,000 euros.

After paying a bail of 25,000 euros, Kenan Bulut was released in January 2017. More than two years later, he ended up in prison again for a fatal fire in Rotterdam. In April 2020, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for these offences, but Bulut appealed his sentence. For the purposes of his assize trial, the accused was temporarily extradited at the end of August and imprisoned in Bruges prison.

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“No Doubt of Murder”

The verdict referred to the condition in which the body was found. “There is not the slightest reasonable doubt that this woman was killed intentionally,” said chairman Willem De Pauw. Milena Raycheva was clothed but superficially buried without personal belongings by filling up a natural pit with sand. According to the coroner, it was not a case of natural death, although the exact cause of death could no longer be determined.

It was then noted that Kenan Bulut and Milena Raycheva had been in a relationship since 2007. At the same time, the defendant was still forming a family with his ex-wife. He was also found in her bed when he was arrested. “Even after the divorce, regular family trips to Turkey were made.” There the divorce was kept hidden. In addition, the two youngest children were only born after the divorce.

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“Hidden Relationship”

The judges ruled that Bulut kept his relationship with the victim and their son hidden from those around him. The hidden nature of that relationship often led to arguments. After all, Milena threatened to tell his ex-wife. Bulut threatened her life when she wanted to return to the Netherlands, but the victim ignored it.

“There is no indication that she was seen or heard alive after their departure from Rotterdam,” it said. The trip to Calais and the way she got out of the car there was branded improbable. For example, after her disappearance, she no longer communicated with her family at all. “It is not reasonable to see why Milena, who did not speak French and was financially dependent on the accused, would have left the latter in Calais.”

In addition, they failed to realize that it was only a four-hour drive to Calais, while Bulut would have taken 15 to 17 hours. According to the judges, he wanted to hide his real journey and actions. It was therefore no coincidence in the judgment that she was found in Zeebrugge, where there was also a ferry port. Bulut also knew the disappearance was alarming, but made little effort to provoke a serious police investigation. His lying answers during the polygraph test were considered supporting evidence.

“Sacrifice the lure”

The jury is therefore convinced that the accused had lured the victim by promising a trip to London. He broke off his journey near Zeebrugge, killed her on purpose and buried her in the dunes. “Any alternative explanation for Milena Raycheva’s disappearance and her subsequent death is completely implausible,” said chairman Willem De Pauw.

Debates on the sentence start today, Friday at 10 a.m. Kenan Bulut faces life imprisonment. The prosecution is asking for 27 years in prison.

SEE ALSO: Assize Duinenmoord: accused deny any involvement (17/10/2022):

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