A fierce battle has been raging for years between Ilse De Meulemeester (51) and the immensely wealthy Dutch chip shop owner Jacobus Perdaems (65). Perdaems would have had an amorous relationship with the ex-Miss Belgium in 2012, and in that period, he says, showered her with gifts worth 2.8 million euros. After six months, De Meulemeester broke off contact and stated that there had never been a love relationship.
What followed was an outright war. Perdaems accused the ex-miss of extortion and fraud, while she accused him of stalking. The Antwerp criminal court agreed with De Meulemeester in the stalking file and sentenced her former admirer in October 2021 to two years in prison with a suspended sentence. At the end of April, the same court found the former beauty queen guilty of forgery, but did not impose a sentence on her. She was acquitted for defrauding and extorting Perdaems.
But one of De Meulemeester’s complaints against Perdaems turned out to be unfounded. According to the ex-miss, Perdaems had repeatedly rang the bell at her home in Knokke in the night of 6 to 7 December 2016. A few days later, De Meulemeester had filed a report with the Knok police for assault. There she claimed that she had recognized the Dutchman on the screen of the intercom. But Perdaems emphatically denied that it was he who was standing at the door and stated that he was in Spain at the time. The council chamber also saw insufficient evidence and dismissed him for that fact.
More than five years later, Perdaems retaliated with a summons for defamatory charges. “Although she knew that it was her brother who had been at the door that night, she continued with that false complaint,” said Louis De Groote, Perdaems’ lawyer, during the trial at the beginning of May. But according to the prosecutor, it was not established that De Meulemeester acted with malicious intent when she went to the police on December 13, 2016. “The only question is whether she knew that it was not Perdaems who was standing in front of her door, but her brother,” said prosecutor Peter Vercauteren. “I don’t see any evidence for that.” Ilse De Meulemeester’s lawyer, of course, wholeheartedly agreed with Vercauteren and referred to an interrogation in which her brother strongly denies having stood in front of her door that night.
Nevertheless, the court on Wednesday was of the opinion that De Meulemeester acted with malicious intent. “Her trumped-up complaint served to wallow in a victim role and had to get Perdaems in trouble again in court,” it sounded. The court referred, among other things, to a statement by another brother of De Meulemeester in which he stated that his sister had telephoned him in the same period to complain about the fact that her other brother had knocked at her door during the night, but that he was drunk and therefore had not opened them. “Perdaems and De Meulemeester have been engaged in a private vendetta for years, in which they do everything they can to harm each other and see no point in bombarding each other with mutual criminal complaints and proceedings,” the court concluded.
De Meulemeester has to pay one euro moral compensation to Perdaems. In the meantime, the Dutchman has appealed against his conviction for stalking.
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