Ilse Uyttersprot. Credit: Belga

Ilse Uyttersprot, former mayor and alderman of Aalst (in the province of East Flanders) Ilse Uyttersprot was found dead on Tuesday.

Uyttersprot’s boyfriend turned himself in on Tuesday morning, saying he had killed her, after which police found her body in an apartment on Meuleschettestraat in the centre of Aalst.

The reason for the murder was in the “relational sphere,” according to the public prosecutor, although the exact circumstances of the murder are not clear yet. “They will be investigated further in the coming hours,” said Uyttersprot’s successor as mayor, Christoph D’Haese.

D’Haese expressed his “dismay and disbelief” at Uyttersprot’s death in what he called “dramatic circumstances,” adding that “Aalst is stunned.”

“I hope that the circumstances will be clarified soon, and that the perpetrator will be punished appropriately,” he said.

The case is currently being investigated by the federal police. The public prosecutor’s office is also on site, as are the lab and the examining magistrate. The suspect will reportedly be interrogated this afternoon.

The man had previously been convicted for stalking his ex-girlfriend, and for assault and battery, according to De Standaard.

Uyttersprot is survived by her two children. “Nobody deserves to lose a mother at this young age. No one should die so young. On behalf of the whole city council and myself, I offer the family and friends of Ilse our sympathy. I sincerely wish them much strength,” D’Haese said.

Reactions to Uyttersprot’s death have also circulated on Twitter. “I have heard with total bewilderment the news about the death of the former mayor,” said Interior Minister Pieter De Crem, who called Uyttersprot “a highly appreciated ‘compagnon de route’ & province mate. My deepest condolences go out to her family and loved ones.”

“Goosebumps. Full of disbelief and shivering, I hear of the horrible end to your life,” said Aalst politician Sam Van de Putte. “This is unreal. Despite differences of opinion, we had a fine personal relationship. Much strength to your mum, two sons, family, friends and party mates.”

Uyttersprot was mayor of Aalst from 2007 to 2012, when D’Haese took over from her and she became an alderman.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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