Appeal starts in murder of pregnant University of Amsterdam student

The appeal case on the disappearance and death of Sumanta Bansi starts in the court in Amsterdam on Monday. Last year the Noord-Holland court convicted Manodj B. of killing and disposing of the 22-year-old pregnant student’s body in 2018. B. appealed against the 15-year prison sentence.

Bansi disappeared from Hoorn, where she lived with B.’s family, in February 2018. The University of Amsterdam student, originally from Suriname, was pregnant with B.’s child for the second time when she disappeared. The young woman had a relationship with B., a married man. During the previous pregnancy, his family convinced her to get an abortion. She was determined to keep the second child.

At the time of B.’s sentencing in July last year, Bansi’s body had yet to be found. The court still considered it implausible that the young woman had disappeared of her own accord and accepted the Prosecutor’s conclusion that she had been killed.

Evidence against B. included tapped telephone conversations in which he said he killed her “through the heart.” During the investigation, the man did not seem concerned about Sumanta’s disappearance and actively tried to hinder the police investigation with contradicting statements about the young woman’s whereabouts and attempting to influence what witnesses told the police, the court said.

Bansi’s body was found at a business park in Hoorn in September last year after B. admitted to being responsible for her death during a police interrogation and told them where to look. In January, the Public Prosecution Service revealed that B. claims he killed Bansi in self-defense. B. said he fought with Bansi in her bedroom about whether she had stolen money. He claimed she grabbed a knife, which he took from her, and stabbed her to death “in a reflex.” He buried her body that same evening.

The Prosecutor briefly mentioned that B.’s latest claim contradicted several findings in the investigation.

The Amsterdam Court of Appeals will handle the appeal case on Monday and Wednesday.

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