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Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Level 1
1

Elementary

Warmer

Say one or two sentences about one of the following subjects:


Belgium

skydiving

DNA and fingerprints

Key words

Fill the gaps in the sentences using these key words from the text. The paragraph numbers are given to
help you.
prosecution

nonsense
parachute

manipulative
jealousy

trial

victim

1. A _______________________ is what takes place in a court of law. (para 1)


2. A _______________________ is a large piece of cloth joined to strings, used by someone jumping out of a

plane. (para 2)
3. Someone who has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a crime is a _______________________.

(para 4)
4. An unhappy feeling you get because someone has something that you would like to have.

_______________________ (para 5)
5. The people who try to prove in court that someone is guilty of a crime. _______________________ (para 7)
6. Someone who is _______________________ makes people do what they want. (para 8)
7. ideas, behaviour or words that are not true _______________________ (para 9)
witnesses

innocent
evidence

investigators
rejected

jury

disputed

8. facts or physical signs that help to prove something _______________________ (para 10)
9. Not guilty of a crime. When you havent done anything wrong you are _______________________. (para 10)
10. A _______________________ fact or statement is one that many people argue about. (para 11)
11. turned away because someone doesnt like you _______________________ (para 13)
12. People whose job is to find out the facts about something, especially a crime or an accident.
_______________________ (para 13)
13. A _______________________ are a group of people who judge a court case. They are ordinary members of
the public. (para 16)

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NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

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14. _______________________ are people who see a crime or accident happen and who can give further
information at a trial. (para 16)

Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Elementary

2 Els Clottemans, 26, is charged with murdering


Els Van Doren, a 34-year-old married mother,
who fell to her death in Flanders almost four
years ago after someone cut her parachute
strings which caused it and the emergency
parachute to fail during a sky dive.
3 A videocamera filmed Van Dorens desperate
struggle as she tried to open her emergency
parachute. The video ended as she landed in a
garden in eastern Belgium.
4 The first question a family normally asks is
whether the victim knew what was happening.
We dont have to ask, it was filmed, said Jef
Vermassen, a lawyer for Van Dorens family.
5 Police investigators say that both women were
having affairs with their Dutch skydiving teacher,
Marcel Somers; all three belonged to the
Zwartberg parachute club in eastern Flanders.
Jealousy, the prosecution says, was the reason
for a coldly calculated killing.
6 When Somers chose to be with Van Doren, who
was the wife of a Flemish jeweller, Clottemans
cut the parachute strings and Van Doren jumped
to her death a few days later, the 68-page
chargesheet says.
7 The prosecution case needs to prove that there
was a love triangle between the instructor and
the two women.
8 Clottemans was arrested within weeks of the
death in November 2006 and questioned after
police found out about the two affairs. A court
psychiatrist who examined her said she is
psychopathic, narcissistic and manipulative.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010


NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

10 There is talk of a passionate relationship


between Clottemans and Marcel Somers. They
are supposed to have been in love. But love was
out of the question. There is no evidence at all,
not the slightest indication of guilt. I believe Els
Clottemans is innocent, he said.
11 It is known that the women were having an affair
with the same man. However, the intensity of
the relationships and the motives for murder
are disputed.
12 Clottemans has told investigators that she knew
she was second-best. In a letter published in
Belgian papers three years ago, she said, I
always knew I was number two for Marcel.
13 A few days before the death, the two women
were at the instructors home. Clottemans was
rejected and sent to a sleeping bag in the living
room where Van Doren had left her parachute,
said the investigators. The straps and strings of
the parachute were cut. Clottemans knew how
to do it.
14 A few days later, 12 members of the club flew
over Flanders, with the two women supposed
to hold hands with Somers and another man
in a skydiving quartet. Clottemans jumped too
late and alone. Van Doren fell more than 1,000
metres to her death. Her last frantic attempts to
open her parachutes were filmed by the camera
in her helmet.
15 There is very little forensic evidence to support
the case against the school teacher. There is no
DNA or fingerprints from the victims skydiving kit.
16 The jury of seven men and five women have
four weeks to hear 170 witnesses and make up
their minds.
Guardian News & Media 2010
First published in The Guardian, 24/09/10

1 It has been called the trial of the year a murder


blamed on a Brussels primary school teacher
and amateur skydiver who is said to have killed
a close friend after losing a contest for the love
of their skydiving instructor.

Her lawyer, Vic Van Aelst, described this as


nonsense. He said that, since 2008, Clottemans
has completed teacher training and worked as
a primary school teacher in the Brussels district
of Anderlecht.

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Ian Traynor in Brussels


24 September, 2010

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Belgian skydiver murdered love rival


in sabotage jump

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Level 1

Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Level 1

Elementary

3 Comprehension check
Are these sentences true (T) or false (F) according to the information in the article? Correct any that
are false.
1. The article is about the murder of a primary school teacher.
2. The murder happened almost four years ago in Belgium.
3. The victim fell to her death after someone cut her parachute strings.
4. The death was recorded on video.
5. The murdered woman was having an affair with her instructor.
6. Ms Clottemans lawyer says that she was deeply and passionately in love with her instructor.
7. Clottemans has psychological problems.
8. There is strong DNA and fingerprint evidence to support the case.

4 Open questions
An open question is one that cannot be answered simply with the words yes or no.
Write six open questions that you would like to ask Ms Clottemans or Mr Somers.
1. How ___________________________________________________________________________________?
2. When __________________________________________________________________________________?
3. What __________________________________________________________________________________?
4. Why ___________________________________________________________________________________?
5. Who ___________________________________________________________________________________?

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NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

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Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

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6. Which _________________________________________________________________________________?

Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Level 1

Elementary

5 Role-play
In groups of two to five, role-play a similar situation to the one in the article.
a. In your group, decide which characters you are going to play. Take five minutes to write notes about
your character.

Police investigator
you are going
and what you know about the person
Make notes about the facts of the case
to interview.

The accused
ut this person.
1. Write all the facts that you know abo

r details about the person.

2. Use your imagination to add furthe

The skydiving instructor


ut this person.
1. Write all the facts that you know abo

r details about the person.

NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

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2. Use your imagination to add furthe

Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Level 1

Elementary

n
Husband of the murdered woma
ut this person.
1. Write all the facts that you know abo

r details about the person.

2. Use your imagination to add furthe

the murder
Fourth skydiver witness to
ut this person.
1. Write all the facts that you know abo

r details about the person.

2. Use your imagination to add furthe

b. The police investigator interviews the witnesses and suspects

6 Webquest

NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

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Look on the internet to find further background information and/or developments connected with this
court trial.

Belgian skydiver murdered love rival

Level 1

Elementary

KEY
1 Warmer

4 Open questions

Teachers note: The students should work in pairs or


groups of three for this task and time each other. It is
not necessary for the students to have a great deal
of knowledge about any of the subjects; it is more
important that they try to say something about each.

Teachers note: This task will help the students to


prepare for the following role-play task. The more
thoroughly this task is carried out, the easier the
role-play will be. You could divide the class and ask one
half to write open questions for Ms Clottemans and the
other half to write open questions for Mr Somers.

2 Key words
1. trial
2. parachute
3. victim
4. jealousy
5. prosecution
6. manipulative
7. nonsense
8. evidence
9. innocent
10. disputed
11. rejected
12. investigators
13. jury
14. witnesses

5 Role-play
Teachers note: This role-play is for a minimum of
two people.
The roles of the police investigator and the accused
are essential; the skydiving instructor role is useful to
bring a further perspective into the scenario; the others
are optional. Allow students playing the same role to
prepare (Task a) together before rejoining their groups.
The investigators should make notes. After they have
interviewed the suspects and witnesses they should
compare notes. While they are doing this, the suspects
and witnesses could also talk together about how it felt
to be interviewed.
Ask for class feedback at the end of the role-play task.

3 Comprehension check

NEWS LESSONS / Belgian skydiver murdered love rival / Elementary

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F
T
T
T
T
F
T
F

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