Dying Mum Made Son Lie Over Death So He Could Feed Cats

Story ByKoen BerghuisSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCEN

A jobless Dutchman who never had a job and hid his mother’s death from officials by storing her body at her home for years so he could still live there and look after her nine cats has been arrested for pension fraud.

Dutchman Piet van der Molen, 66, has reportedly never worked in his entire life and never had a girlfriend.

When his 91-year-old mother Gerda died on 26th July 2013, Piet decided to keep her body in her bedroom in the parental house where they both lived.

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Pictures Credit: CEN

According to Piet, his mother told her on her deathbed her final wish as she said she wanted her son not to inform anyone about her death, allegedly being worried Piet would not be able to stay in the parental house to take care of their nine cats.

He says his mother asked him to keep on cashing her pension so he could look after the cats.

Two-and-a-half years later the case was uncovered when a neighbour started to find the situation around the reclusive family a bit suspicious and informed the cops.

Shocked police officers found the body of Gerda in a decomposed state in a self-made coffin.

Piet was found guilty by a court on charges of disappearing a human body and pension fraud and was sentenced to six months in prison and to pay back 40,000 EUR (34,442 GBP) in pension money but has appealed the sentence and is now in the news after his story became a book by Joris van Casteren.

Piet said: “I did not want to contradict my mother as she was an old woman who would get angry fast when she did not get her way.”

Joris added: “And he never said no towards his mother. She was the only woman in his life.”

Piet decided after a few days that he had to build a coffin as he saw the body of his mother starting to bloat.

He said: “I had to build a coffin as otherwise her body would blow up into pieces. Something which I didn’t know as I had no clue about decomposition, I only looked it up on the internet.

“When I saw my mother starting to swell up more each day a bit more, I thought I had to put her into something.”

Piet kept an entire log book of excuses which he would tell the few people who inquired about the whereabouts of his mother to make sure he kept up a seemingly legitimate story.

He told family friends that she was suffering badly from dementia and was not in a state to see visitors.

Piet said that each night he would take a look in the room, keeping the window open as much as possible to ventilate against the odour.

He said: “Each night I would say goodnight to her.”

Joris said he was interested in writing the new book ‘Moeders Lichaam’ (“Mother’s body”) which is about Piet from the moment he heard about the story.

He said: “It has everything. It is love, it has death, loyalty and deceit.” 

Piet said he is aware that he did “something criminal” but said that “I did it all for my mother”.

According to Joris, Piet never used the pension money for a lavish lifestyle but only used it to keep his life going and to feed the nine cats.

Joris said: “Piet’s mother could only get one child, in between all the other families with lots of offspring. She was protective to a fault. She thought that he would never have to work but should always remain with her. And that he was better off not having a girlfriend.”

It is unsure if Piet can ever repay the money if his appeal fails as he will soon hit retirement age and will be eligible for a government pension despite having never worked his entire life.