22 Oct 2010

Skydiver sentenced to 30 years for murder of love rival

9:47 am on 22 October 2010

A skydiver in Belgium has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering her love rival by cutting the cords of her parachute.

The victim was sent plummeting to her death as both women took part in a parachute jump with the man of their affections.

Els Clottemans, 26, was convicted after a four-week trial that gripped Belgium.

A jury heard that she cut through key parts of the parachutes of Els Van Doren, 38, because she was jealous of her relationship with a male skydiver.

Ms Van Doren fell 1,000 metres to her death in November 2006. Clottemans denied the charge

The evidence against the schoolteacher was mainly circumstantial, a BBC correspondent reports.

It rested on the fact that Clottemans had the opportunity and skill to sabotage Ms Van Doren's parachute and a motive because she wanted to remove a rival for the affections of Marcel Somers - the man both women had a relationship with.

No forensic evidence linked Clottemans to the crime and she strongly denied the charge.