When you have a deep, dark secret, who can you tell? Some people have close friends they trust to keep mum, and others confide in family members.
But how dark does a secret have to be to warrant breaking your word and revealing the skeletons in someone else’s closet? Most of the time, the “secrets” that get passed around are mere gossip, half-truths, and best guesses.
Astrid Holleeder knew of a much bigger, much more terrible secret: She knew her brother Willem (“Wim”) was a killer, a criminal and a mastermind.
“I know as long as I am here and alive Wim will not go after my family. I am the one who has committed the ultimate betrayal,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Strange as it may seem I am trying to put my brother away in jail for the rest of his life, but I still love him.”
Willem was savvy. In the 1980s he kidnapped the Heineken beer empire’s leader, demanding a cool £15 million for his safe return. He spent a total of 8 years in jail in both Holland and France for his crimes, but then became a criminal lawyer, and his influence and corruption grew.
“Wim and I shared a lot and we were close,” Astrid said. “I knew what he was like and what he was involved with as a criminal lawyer but also as his sister. We shared many secrets.”
“There were people who wanted him dead and the police wanted him. I was always on edge around him. He didn’t scare me, but I always knew what he was capable of.”
Astrid and Willem shared the same troubled childhood, which she wrote about in her book called “Judas.” Their father was an abusive alcoholic and was cruel to them, but even that bond wasn’t strong enough to keep Astrid from advocating for justice.
“But he had to be stopped,” she said. “He had turned into a serial killer and I knew getting him on tape would be the only way that he could not manipulate the evidence.’
So how to trap him? “Wim would pat me down as he was suspicious of everyone, but he would not touch me down around my breasts,” Astrid told the Daily Mail.
There she had it: She put a small recording device in her bra before he’d visit her in her home, and she got a lot of valuable sound bytes.
“I wasn’t convinced the microphone was picking up his whispers so one time had it sewn into my jacket collar,” she revealed. “I was terrified that he would find it.”
“I would have been dead by the end of that day, if not in hours, if he had found out. I was his sister and I was gathering evidence to put him in jail for the rest of his life.”
There have been rumors that Willem has sent hitmen after Astrid, who is now in a protective program and drives a bulletproof car. Even though he’s contained for now, she knows she’s still not safe — and might never be again.
“I know I am on borrowed time and whatever happens at Wim’s trial he will get me,” she admitted. “If he is acquitted or found guilty and sent to prison for life he will come for me.”
“I just want to stay alive for as long as I can.”
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