Man suspected of negligence in fatal GHB overdose faces suspended prison sentence

A 49-year-old Heerenveen man should be convicted of negligence after a woman in his home drank a water bottle containing pure GHB on October 15, 2021, and died as a result. The Public Prosecution Service recommended a four-month suspended prison sentence for Bernard H. in court on Wednesday. The victim, Lisette Elzinga, 26, died ten days later from the consequences of taking a combination of alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine and GHB.

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) accused H. of wrong-doing and partial responsibility for the 2.5 hour delay in calling for medical assistance after Elzinga was found unconscious. H. was aware of the dangers of GHB because he used the drug more frequently. Eventually, Elzinga’s friend, Sylvia de V., called 112. Prosecutors also demanded the same sentence against her on Tuesday.

On the evening of October 14, H. met Elzinga and De V. in a café. The two women went home with H., and met up with two friends of his. The group ended up in a “man cave” with a jacuzzi, sauna and bar. While there, H. passed out alcohol and ecstasy.

H. had gone to sleep at 5:30 the next morning. One of his friends also left. The other friend stayed behind with the two women. According to that man, Elzinga drank from a water bottle from H.’s refrigerator. However, H. said that he did not believe it as Lisette was somewhat afraid of other people’s germs. “There was plenty to drink,” he said. “It is unlikely that she would take an open bottle.”

Elzinga’s girlfriend had been sleeping for some time. When she awoke at around 5:45 a.m., she found Elzinga unconscious and woke H. up. Both failed to get Elzinga to regain consciousness. H. thought that Elzinga should simply sleep it off. “In my view, it was not a life-threatening situation,” said H., since he had regained consciousness along with De V., the friend who had also used the GHB.

H. also based his thinking on information from websites about GHB, according to Elzinga’s girlfriend. The OM said that those same sites also cautioned that emergency services should be contacted. H. said he was unable to remember looking on the internet at the time. He had gone back to sleep.

During a house search carried out by the police, the bottle containing GHB was found in a laundry basket. H. said he does not know how it got there. The OM claimed there were indications that the bottle belonged to H., but could not determine this because of different explanations about it.

Elzinga’s family believes that the men were out to have a drug-fueled orgy with the two women. H. denied this. H.’s friends were not prosecuted in the case.

The verdict is scheduled to be delivered on June 21.

Reporting by ANP

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