Van der Sloot ‘hid Natalee body in coffin’
Magazine article claims Dutch murder suspect has stabbed three men in a Peruvian jail
One of the most celebrated crimes in America could be a step closer to being solved after reports that the prime suspect in the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway had admitted killing her and hiding her body in a coffin - alongside the corpse of another man - on the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Joran Van Der Sloot, a Dutch national who was arrested over Holloway's disappearance but never charged, apparently made the confession while in prison in Peru. He is being held there over the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found dead in a hotel room in Lima last year with a broken neck.
The claims come from the pages of the American supermarket tabloid National Enquirer which says Van der Sloot gave away details of the crime to other inmates in Peru's Miguel Castro Castro jail.
Meanwhile, Peruvian magazine Panorama says the 23-year-old Dutchman has stabbed three other prisoners since he was arrested in June last year and is a heavy drug user.
"He has been put into solitary confinement several times but comes out even more angry," the magazine quotes a source at the prison as saying.
But his lawyer denied the reports and said: "He actually wants to change his life and goes to church."
Van der Sloot has been in the media spotlight for six years, ever since he was a 17-year-old living on the island of Aruba when Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old high-school graduate from Alabama, went missing while on holiday there in May 2005.
Her body has never been found but she was last seen outside a nightclub on the island with van der Sloot and two other men, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.
Van der Sloot has been arrested more than once in connection with her disappearance, which became a cause celebre in America, but was never charged. He has admitted lying to police about her disappearance and has made several previous "confessions" all of which were later retracted.
In 2008 he moved to Bangkok where there were claims that he became involved in sex trafficking. He was also seen on the professional poker circuit before returning to Aruba in 2010 after the death of his father, who some had accused of helping to cover up Holloway's death. Later that year Van der Sloot attempted to extort money from Holloway's family by promising to tell them where he had hidden her body in return for $250,000.
After the extortion attempt failed he fled to South America. He was arrested after the discovery of Flores's body in a hotel room. She was the daughter of a well known rally driver and former candidate for vice president of Peru, Ricardo Flores.