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Dutch mobster Willem Holleeder sentenced to life in prison over contract killings

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By Euronews  with AP, DPA
Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder pictured outside the courthouse of Haarlem in February 2014.
Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder pictured outside the courthouse of Haarlem in February 2014.   -   Copyright  ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN / ANP / AFP, FILE

One of the most notorious Dutch criminals has been sentenced to life imprisonment for ordering a string of killings.

Willem Holleeder -- a career criminal nicknamed “The Nose” -- will now spend the rest of his life behind bars after being handed the maximum possible sentence.

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal upheld the 64-year-old's life sentence first doled out in 2019.

Holleeder rose to prominence in the Netherlands for his role in the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken.

He was convicted of ordering five murders between 2002 and 2006, including the 2003 shooting of one of his accomplices in the Heineken kidnapping, Cor van Hout.

Holleeder had previously also been convicted of threatening the crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was shot dead last year in a separate incident.

His lawyers had urged acquittal, saying there was no direct evidence tying him to the crimes.

But judges "took into account the cold and unscrupulous way in which Holleeder, together with others in a criminal organization, decided on life and death,” the appeals court said in a statement.

“His choices were motivated by money or to prevent someone else from retaliating against him or talking to the police.”

Holleeder's own two sisters were among the witnesses who testified against him in the trial. The siblings had secretly recorded conversations with the criminal for years and handed the tapes over to the public prosecutor's office.