EnetEnglish.gr, 19:34 Thursday 16 May 2013
Dutch attempted murder suspect is autistic, says mother
Mother says she was reluctant to allow him work in hotel
Because of his autism, the mother said she she had reservations about her son taking up the offer of a job to work in the Crete hotel where the attempted murder took place, according to the Dutch press
The mother of the 20-year-old Dutchman charged with the attempted murder of a 11-year-old Russian tourist on Crete has told the Dutch press that her son is autistic.
Because of his condition, the mother said she she had reservations about her son taking up the offer of a job to work in the Crete hotel where the attempted murder took place, according to the Hart van Nederland website, which is owned by private TV channel SBS 6.
Her son has been named as Cirino Schrijver in the Greek media.
The suspect, his mother and other family members, who are from the central Dutch town of Opheusden, had been on holiday together on Crete, where he was offered work as a hotel clown/children's entertainer during his stay.
She finally agreed to him remaining on to work in the hotel after she was assured that he would be under proper supervision.
The mother, Alexandra, added that she hasn't been able to contact her son since the incident. Plans to return to Greece were frustrated by Thursday's four-hour work stoppage by Greek air traffic controllers.
According to her Facebook page, the mother is from Irakleio. She told the Dutch press that her son as a sweet boy who avoided the limelight.
According to a report in a magazine published by the Dutch employment agency UWV (pdf, p. 35) in April 2012, Cirino Schrijver was in receipt of a disability payment last year and was on a work scheme designed to intergrate people with disability into the labour market.
The article said that he had difficulty concentrating and was easily distracted. But finding work - at a centre that recycled old computers - had stimulated him and made things better.
Speaking to the magazine, Schrijver said he liked taking objects apart and putting them back together.
"Ever since I was young I've been taking things apart. I always understand immediately how things are when I take them apart. Yes, that sounds crazy now that I say it, but that's how it is. I have a technical knack," he told he magazine.
The claims that the man is autistic and had no apparent training to work as a hotel children's entertainer will fuel the controversy over the hiring practices of certain hotels.
Sources from the tourism industry in Crete indicate that there little or now background checks into foreign personnel who come to the island looking for work or who are recruited via employment agencies in Greece and abroad.
In the area of Hersonisos, where the man found a job while on holiday, the same sources said that hotels recruit Dutch and Belgian staff because of the popularity of the area with tourists from those countries.
The Dutch foreign affairs ministry has also attempted to contact the suspect, according to the NRC Handelsblad newspaper.
"Our honorary consul in Irakleio is trying to provide consular assistance," a ministry spokesman told the Novum news agency, according to NRC.
"We believe that it is important to quickly get in touch with him," the spokesman said, adding that they had been in contact with his family."
The official said it was common for embassy official to have to wait before they were allowed access to suspects in such cases.