Judge ignores insanity plea and sentences Dutch tram shooter to life in prison for gun rampage that killed four, a year ago
Gokmen Tanis, 38, shot four people dead on a tram in Utrech on March 18
Tanis who admitted to the shooting was found guilty of murder with terrorist intent and sentenced to life in jail
During the trial he had to be removed from court after spitting at his court appointed defense attorney and raising the middle finger at the judge
The unruly convict was not in court on Friday to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
Mass shooter Gokmen Tanis, 38, has been sentenced to life in jail for terrorist murder after he fatally shot four people on a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands, last year. Tanis was kept away due to coronavirus restrictions
Tanis shot four people on the tram itself and then opened fire on a car driver as he fled the scene near Utrecht central station. Three of the victims on the tram later died
One victim, a 19-year-old woman, was shot while talking on the phone with her boss. Another was shot as she leaped from the tram.
Tanis then got off the tram and shot another person sitting behind the wheel of a car before fleeing.
Several people reported hearing Tanis shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he fired the shots, while he also left behind a note in a stolen car which said ‘I’m doing this for my belief. You are killing Muslims.
‘You want to take our belief away from us, but it won’t work.’
Five people were injured in total, four of whom later died of their wounds.
Gökmen Tanis has admitted shooting dead four people but the court will have to decide whether to convict him of murder or manslaughter and whether the offences were of a terrorist nature.
On the opening day of his trial Gökmen Tanis refused to answer questions.
When defense lawyer, André Seebregts, appointed by the court to represent Tanis after he refused to accept legal support, asked the judges to outline a psychiatric report slowly and in simple terms to the defendant,
Tanis spat at him. The judges ordered him to be taken away to a side room where he followed the rest of the proceedings by video link.
The family of Roos Verschuur, one of the victims, arrives at court to heard the verdict
Police traced Tanis to his apt and arrested him. Authorities recognized the suspect on CCTV footage from his lengthy criminal history including theft and violent crimes
Tanis – who left a note at the scene saying ‘I am doing this for my belief’ – admitted the shooting but was taken to court to decide if the charge should be manslaughter due to a mental disorder
Police reviewing CCTV footage recognized Tanis due to his lengthy criminal record including theft and violent offences.
His family described him as a ‘part-time Muslim’ who sometimes observed daily routines including prayer, but other times gambled and drank.
Tanis admitted to prosecutors that he had carried out the attack and was acting alone, but was scheduled for trial to decide whether the charge should be murder or manslaughter based on diminished responsibility.
The trial began on March 2 and was suspended a short time later when Tanis was removed from court for spitting at his own lawyer.
He also raised his middle finger at judges while refusing to answer questions.
The court heard that he had a personality disorder and reduced mental capacity.
Tanis carried out his attack by shooting people from close range with a silenced pistol on a tram in the Dutch city around 10.45am. on March 18, 2019
The judge however, decided against the insanity plea and instead sentenced Tanis to life.
Tanis was not inn court for the sentencing because of the prevention measures in place in many European countries are trying to limit spread of the coronavirus disease by reducing human contact.
Those include limiting the amount of time that police and prison officials interact with inmates and members of the public by using video conferencing, and reducing the number of call-outs that police respond to.