The helicopter circled the prison several times, but Gielen’s plan was foiled as the pilot was unable to land in the yard. As the helicopter flew over the prison, inmates clapped and waved, but Gielen felt nauseous and had to stick her head out of the helicopter five times to get sick.
The pilot was then ordered to fly to Hélécine, a town south of the Belgian capital, where Gielen’s adoptive father, 50, was waiting in a parking lot ready to make a jaunt.
The two men and two other suspects, aged 18 and 22, were arrested within 24 hours of the failed escape when detectives discovered Gielen had used his own name when booking the helicopter at the Deurne airport, near Antwerp.
“I can confirm that my client admitted that he wanted to release his wife from prison,” said Tom van Overbeke, Gielen’s lawyer. “It looks like the whole thing was staged in a pretty amateurish way. ”
The four men will appear before an investigating judge in Antwerp for theft with armed violence, participation in a criminal organization, illegal deprivation of liberty and attempted escape.
Gielen, a convicted drug dealer, met and married his wife in Hasselt mixed prison last year. “When Kristel and I had visitors in January 2019, we met in the visitors area,” Gielen told the Het Belang van Limburg newspaper last year. “We still knew each other before, but we hadn’t seen each other for a long time. Because we could never see each other, we both started taking computer lessons in prison. It was the only way to be together.
Appelt is in jail on suspicion of stabbing 30-year-old Andy Vandereyt to death during a street brawl on December 2, 2018.