Teacher Gets 30 Years for Skydiving Murder

Jealous jumper Els Clottemans sabotaged victim's chutes

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 21, 2010 2:00 AM CDT | Updated Oct 21, 2010 11:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Belgian woman involved in a skydiving love triangle has been found guilty of murdering her rival by sabotaging her parachute, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Schoolteacher Els Clottemans, 26, disabled the victim's parachute because she was jealous of the woman's involvement with a Dutch skydiver, prosecutors said. The jury saw footage taken by the victim's helmet-mounted camera as she plunged to her death from 30,000 feet, the Independent reports.

Investigators testified that both of the victim's parachutes had been sabotaged before the fateful 2006 jump, and that Clottemans, an experienced skydiver, would have known how to do that. The judge said the only mitigating factor in the sentencing was Clottemans' fragile mental state; she tried to kill herself in 2008. Clottemans maintained her innocence throughout the trial.

Els Clottemans wipes a tear as she is found guilty at a courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium.
Els Clottemans wipes a tear as she is found guilty at a courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
Belgian Els Clottemans arrives at a courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium
Belgian Els Clottemans arrives at a courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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