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Marieke Liem discusses jealousy and murder on Dutch television channel NPO 3

On Friday 24 May, Marieke Liem, Associate Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University, appeared on the NPO 3 television programme ‘Vreemdgaan met Filemon’ (Cheating with Filemon). Liem discussed the link between jealousy and murder referencing scientific research into intimate partner homicide.

Intimate partner homicides occur approximately 30 times per year, according to Liem, with jealousy as the main motif for one in five homicides. It is not uncommon in these cases for  women to be perceived as the sexual property of men. Jealousy in this context can be seen as possessiveness, which manifests itself as: ‘If I can’t have her, no-one can.’ Liem says that the statistics show that 90% of these intimate partner homicides are committed by men and 10% by women.


In order to illustrate her claims, Liem came up with three examples: Kim Stoker who was killed by her partner by being stabbed 30 times with a knife, Celesta Kempers killed by being stabbed 85 times, and Antoinette Kunemund, killed by being stabbed 48 times. The large number of stabbings can reflect the amount of anger the killer felt at the time of the murder. In the case Kunemund, the victim was killed by her former partner because she had entered into a new relationship. Liem indicates that these murders are usually unpremeditated, in other words: the killer had not planned to kill its victim beforehand.


Finally, Liem discusses the conversations she has had with the suspects of intimate partner homicides: “There are those who show a tremendous amount of regret, others don’t have any recollection of the event while some are in denial. A handful of the suspects want to reunite with the partner. They have killed their partner, so they will always remain separated. The only way to reconnect with their partner is by ending their own life.’ Liem concludes that intimate partner homicides are rare – and that under the right circumstances – jealousy can play an important role.

You can watch the episode (in Dutch) on NPO3, the interview starts at 24:00 minutes.

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