Netflix has become the home of true-crime documentaries over the past few months, with docuseries like Murder Among the Mormons, Night Stalker and Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel keeping factual fans entertained throughout the pandemic.
The latest addition to the streamer’s true crime collection is Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case – a series looking at former Belgian politician Bernard Wesphael who was arrested over his wife’s death in 2013.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming documentary, including where Wesphael is now and what the series will cover.
When is Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case on Netflix?
Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 17th March.
What is Under Suspicion about?
Netflix miniseries Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case follows the high-profile case of Belgian politician Bernard Wesphael, who was accused of murdering his wife in 2013.
The true crime series features interview with the acquitted Wesphael and other commentators as it looks at evidence surrounding the death of Véronique Pirotton, Wesphael’s wife of just over a year who he claimed had died by suicide in a Belgian hotel room.
Who is Bernard Wesphael?
Bernard Wesphael is a former Belgian politician who was arrested in 2013 after his wife, Véronique Pirotton, was found dead in an Ostend hotel room.
The 62-year-old founded the Ecolo party – a political party focused on green and ecological policy – in 1980 and became a member of Belgium’s Provision Council in 1987 before becoming a Walloon deputy (a member of the Walloon Parliament) in 1999.
He became the leader of the Ecolo group in the Walloon Parliament in 2004 and left the party in 2012 before founding the Left Movement – a new left-wing party.
In November 2013, Wesphael was arrested over the death of his wife Véronique Pirotton, who he claimed had taken her own life in a hotel room in Ostend, Belgium.
According to Wesphael, he joined his wife of 14 months in Ostend on the Wednesday evening for a two day mini-break together. After an evening of drinking, the couple returned to the hotel room where Véronique had “a very strong seizure, a sort of delirium” during which she insulted him, fallen over a few times, tried to scratch him before calming down and going into the bathroom, at which point he goes to sleep, La Libre reported. After 40 minutes, Wesphael apparently wakes up to find his wife dead, tries to resuscitate her and then goes down to the hotel reception to ask for help.
However, detectives discovered bruises on Pirotton’s body and pillow fibres on her face (VRT NWS), while an autopsy found that Pirroton may have died from a mixture of drugs and alcohol, but couldn’t rule out asphyxiation, whether suicidal or accidental.
Wesphael remained in custody for 10 months until August 2014, when he was freed on bail. His trial took place in September 2016, where he was tried on a charge of murder, however the jury was unable to convict him beyond reasonable doubt and on 6th October, he was acquitted.
Where is Bernard Wesphael now?
After his acquittal in 2016, Wesphael wrote a book – Assassin – in which he gave his own account of what happened after he found his wife dead.
Wesphael applied for compensation for wrongful imprisonment in 2019 but was denied on the grounds that he had displayed “disturbing behaviour” on the night of the incident and had offered conflicting accounts of his movements to police which made his detention legitimate, former justice minister Koen Geens ruled (The Brussels Times).
Wesphael appealed the decision and was awarded compensation of €83,150 for wrongful imprisonment, releasing a statement at the time saying: “My incarceration was clearly unfair and unfounded.”
Last year, Wesphael announced that he intended on returning to politics and plans to relaunch the Movement for Democracy and Citizenship in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Suspicion: Uncovering the Wesphael Case arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 17th March. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.