By Francois Lenoir
My first big assignment after a few weeks off was to cover convicted Belgian serial killer and child molester Marc Dutroux, who was appearing in court in Brussels on February 4 to request his release. Benelux chief photographer Yves Herman was covering the exterior of the courthouse waiting for the arrival and the departure of the convoy carrying the serial killer. We also had a photographer at the Nivelles prison.
Heavy security measures surrounded the building. Police officers were placing fences inside the palace to prevent people from looking into the hearing through the windows. No pictures were allowed inside.
As the national and international media gathered to get the arrival of the lawyers and family at the entrance to the court, I decided to look around to try to work out what route Dutroux would take through the 19th century courthouse in central Brussels, which has about 40 km (24 miles) of corridors and is bigger than the basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.
The hearing was just about to start and I still didn’t see any way to get a good picture, I thought that I wasn’t going to have any luck that day. I walked back to the entrance of the court where I received a tip from a court reporter who knew the building well.
Dutroux was supposed to pass through a corridor following the hearing, and the source showed me a place from where the corridor could be seen. I had to make a decision. At this point I had nothing and if I went back to the court room I would have been able to at least get a picture of Dutroux’s lawyer coming out of the hearing.