Asylum seeker who stabbed Dutch therapist to death had already killed two people before arriving in Europe

The attack occurred on Nov. 5, 2022, at the Veldzicht Center for Transcultural Psychiatry in the Netherlands
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

An asylum seeker who roamed freely across Europe before ending up in the Netherlands and stabbing his therapist to death had already murdered two people ahead of his voyage to Europe, sources from the murder investigation told De Telegraaf newspaper.

In November last year, a Nigerian national was a patient at the Veldzicht Center for Transcultural Psychiatry in the eastern village of Balkbrug, when he engaged in a stabbing spree that left one staff member dead and two others seriously injured.

An investigation into the attack revealed the assailant locked himself in another room immediately after the attack where he attempted to start a fire before eventually taking his own life with the same knife used to attack the employees.

A motive for the attack has not yet been established.

The newspaper reported the reluctance of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and the Veldzicht clinic to disclose any details about the attacker’s background, although it has been widely acknowledged the man suffered from a serious psychiatric disorder.

However, sources close to the investigation have been able to shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The attacker was known as 31-year-old Ambrose Joy Lucky, who was born in Nigeria but traveled to Europe in 2017. He first embarked on the Mediterranean migratory route from Libya to reach Italy where his asylum application was rejected.

Authorities, however, failed to deport the man who soon left Italy and traveled through Austria and Germany before arriving in the Netherlands where he attempted once more to claim asylum.

Lucky was involved in a number of altercations during his residence in asylum reception centers, with the Dutch newspaper reporting that he was responsible for “a lot of nuisance and danger.” He committed several crimes including vandalism, threats, trespassing and arson before he was eventually detained at the Veldzicht clinic.

An investigation into the incident unearthed key background evidence revealing the Nigerian national had committed murder on two separate occasions before heading to Europe. The first in his homeland of Nigeria, where Lucky killed his own uncle after a dispute in 2014, and the second in Libya where he resided ahead of his migration to Europe, where he allegedly killed an employer with whom he had a pay dispute.

It is unclear why this background information was not available to authorities reviewing his asylum applications in the Netherlands and prior to that, in Italy.

The incident last November led Dutch Secretary of State for Security Eric van der Burg to state the attack would never have happened “if Italy had adhered to European asylum agreements.” Strictly speaking, upon being received by the Dutch authorities, the asylum seeker should have been transported back to Italy for deportation in line with the Dublin Regulation; however, coronavirus restrictions at the time created issues with the process.

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