The mother of the young woman John S. stalked in the years running up to his mass shooting at the Tro Tardi care farm warned multiple aid organizations about the man in 2017, she told AD. She specifically raised concerns about his behavior toward vulnerable young girls.
Last week, the court sentenced John S. to life in prison on three counts of murder and two of attempted murder, among other things. On May 4 last year, the man gunned down and killed a shoemaker in Vlissingen. Two days later, he took the gun he “tested out” on the shoemaker and opened fire at the care farm Tro Tardi in Ablasserdam. He killed a 16-year-old girl and a 34-year-old woman who worked at the care farm and severely injured a 12-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman.
After S.’s arrest, it soon became apparent that he also worked as a client on the care farm until he was transferred to another facility in 2017. That partly happened because he was stalking another client of the care farm, then 18-year-old Kristen, after she broke off a relationship with him.
Kristen’s mother, Renate, informed Tro Tardi about the incessant stalking. The care farm immediately transferred S. The woman also warned Stichting Zorboeren Zuid-Holland, which covers Tro Tardi, the police, the Red Cross in Dordrecht, where S. volunteered, and a pop stage in Utrecht, where he worked behind the bar about the man. Renate told them to watch out for S., especially regarding “young vulnerable girls.”
A week after S.’s sentencing, Renate thinks the time is right to ask whether care farms should improve their screening process when taking in clients. According to her, when S. worked at Tro Tardi from 2015 to 2017, there were a lot of vulnerable, young girl clients at the farm. “Someone with his mental health problems should never have been placed there,” she said.
Stichting Zorgboeren Zuid-Holland told AD that it’s aware of Renate’s concerns and understands them. “What happened is horrific,” a spokesperson said. The foundation re-examined its procedures after the shooting, looking if it could have been prevented if they had done something different. “Our internal conclusion was that this is not the case,” the spokesperson said.
The foundation screens its clients itself with the involved care farm and the referring party. Based on the care farm and client’s profiles, they decide where the best place is. “The screening looks very carefully at what kind of guidance, daytime activities, or care a farm can offer. And what the client needs and whether it fits in the group,” the spokesperson said. That also happened with S., he said. “We must, of course, also realize that when S. opened fire at Tro Tardi, he had not received care from Zorgboeren Zuid-Holland for years.”
The Red Cross in Dordrecht, where S. volunteered, doesn’t recall the conversation with Renate in 2017. “But that doesn’t mean the conversation didn’t happen. It is clear that the signal was not registered or handled correctly on our side. If this is the case, we are very sorry. We will draw extra attention to handling reports that come in, even if they do not reach the appropriate reporting centers or confidential advisers.”
Pop stage Ekko in Utrecht, where s worked behind the bar for years, only told AD that he left of his own accord in 2017.