the shattered fate of the Barons Ullens

The usual serenity of this wealthy district of Ohain, in Walloon Brabant, is somewhat disturbed on this Tuesday, May 16. All accesses to Chemin du Bon-Air, in the very green suburbs of Brussels, are blocked by the police and large tarpaulins have been stretched to hide the view of the few journalists present. The reason for such a deployment? Justice reconstructs the facts that allegedly took place on March 29, when Nicolas Ullens de Schooten Whettnall, 57, shot dead his stepmother, Myriam Ullens, known as “Mimi”, 70, second wife of multimillionaire baron Guy Ullens, 88 years.

That morning, the Baron, after an apparently stormy conversation with his youngest son, invoked a medical appointment to dismiss Nicolas, who left the ten-hectare wooded estate where Guy Ullens had built a modern villa of 1,100 square meters. The son gets behind the wheel of his car and waits for Mimi’s Golf to cross the gate.

Around 10 a.m., this father of four blocked his mother-in-law’s car, got out of his own and shot the driver six times, according to his confession relayed by the Belgian press. The baroness collapses. A stray bullet grazed her husband’s leg, sitting in the passenger seat. “I have committed the irreparable”, will say the presumed murderer by giving himself up to the local police, before being indicted for assassination.

Nicolas Ullens now faces life imprisonment. The reconstitution, which will have lasted more than two hours, aimed mainly to elucidate two facts. Did the shooter take a weapon to the scene (which would imply that he had premeditated his act) or did he find it in the house? Moreover, what happened between the moment he shot his mother-in-law and his arrival, an hour later, at the La Mazerine police station, which was only a few hundred meters away?

The prosecution did not communicate anything, except that the alleged murderer, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, had shown himself “collaborating”. Under the influence of emotion, it seems, he also became unwell and had to be examined by a doctor. Baron Ullens was also on site, as a witness and civil party to the trial, but would not have been directly confronted with his son.

A fairy tale in the age of global capitalism

In the flat country, this news item had a considerable echo. All the ingredients are there to thrill the crowds: love, money, luxury. And even more the resentments, the preserved jealousies, the fits of madness which, in six shots, complete a fairy tale in the era of globalized capitalism.

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