Netflix’s ‘Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case’ is a five-part documentary series that looks into the death of Veronique Pirotton in her hotel room on the night of October 31, 2013. With first-hand accounts from people who were involved in and affected by the case, the documentary covers the days leading up to Veronique’s death, the investigation, and the high-profile trial that ensued. Curious to know more about this crime? We’ve got you covered.
How Did Veronique Pirotton Die?
According to the documentary, 42-year-old Veronique Pirotton had a fairly troubled childhood. With her parents working all the time, she used to live with her grandparents for the most part. When she was 14, she allegedly was taken advantage of by her French and Religion teacher who was 30 years old at the time. It was only as an adult that she filed a complaint against him, but that led to nothing. Her family members and friends stated that this was something that had a lasting impact on her life, the things he did and said to her.
Veronique was considered a charming and flirtatious person by people who knew her. At the time of her death, she was married to Bernard Wesphael, who at the time was a member of the Walloon Parliament in Belgium. They got married after knowing each other for three months. Veronique had a son from a previous marriage called Victor. Family members also maintain that domestic and marital bliss was absent.
In fact, Veronique reportedly wanted a divorce because she wasn’t happy with Bernard. She was also having an affair with an ex-lover of hers, Oswald De Cock. Leading up to the night of her death, Veronique had checked into Hotel Mondo in Ostend. It was reported that she had written a letter to Victor stating that Bernard had found out about her affair and that she no longer wanted to be with him.
Interestingly though, Bernard and Veronique ended up spending time together at the hotel where she checked in on October 30. Close to midnight on October 31, she was found dead in the hotel bathroom by Bernard. According to him, she was half-naked with only a t-shirt on and a plastic bag over her face. An autopsy revealed many contusions on her body and face and some textile fibers found on her face as well. Taken with the toxicology report in conjunction, the officials couldn’t rule out either death by asphyxiation (suicidal or homicidal) or death due to the drugs and alcohol in her system.
Who Killed Veronique Pirotton?
The investigation into Veronique’s death uncovered several unsettling facts and conflicting accounts about her life and the people she was involved with. Bernard Wesphael was considered a suspect at the start of the interrogation and was arrested at the hotel. During his questioning, he revealed that Veronique was happy to see him when he drove down to Hotel Mondo. He stated that they had sex at the hotel and that Veronique was off birth control because she said she wanted to have a baby with him.
After spending the night on October 30, he stated that Veronique wanted to extend their stay by another night. They received two calls on the hotel phone from Oswald. After this, they went out and Veronique spent the evening drinking. On the evening of October 31, Bernard stated that Veronique was agitated and tried to claw him once they were back in the room. Other guests at the hotel both directly under and adjacent to Bernard’s and Veronique’s room stated that they heard shouting and what sounded like arguments and screaming. They also mentioned that they heard what they thought was a couple having aggressive sex.
Bernard then stated that Veronique was too drunk and had fallen a couple of times. After that, once she went to the bathroom, he went to sleep. Upon waking, he found her in the bathroom in an unresponsive state and, after unsuccessfully trying CPR and mouth-to-mouth, rushed downstairs to call for an ambulance. The receptionist stated that he called for the cops and the paramedics once he was told that Veronique had committed suicide.
Given her issues with alcohol and drugs, it was alleged that she had tried to kill herself multiple times in the past and that she succeeded this time. The toxicologist for the prosecution mentioned that while there were 21 empty bottles of pills next to her at the crime scene, there were no pills in her stomach, which he thought was suspicious. He stated that it was possible someone beat her to death and then made it look like a suicide.
Oswald, on the other hand, was an elusive character. He had dated Veronique before her marriage to Bernard. They reportedly broke up because she wanted to have a child and get married while he didn’t. They had started seeing each other once again after her marriage. Oswald had also provided recorded conversations and multiple text messages between him and Veronique to the police. These were from the days leading up to her death.
Following an investigation, Bernard Wesphael was tried for the murder of his wife Veronique in 2016. But ultimately, while there was evidence to suggest that Veronique might have been murdered, the judge decided that the investigation didn’t provide enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wesphael killed Veronique, thereby acquitting him. As far as we can tell, no one else has been charged in connection to this case.
Read More: Where is Bernard Wesphael Now?