A man resembling the Batman villain The Joker killed two children and a child care worker during a knife attack on a creche in the Belgian town of Dendermonde on Friday.
The 20-year-old assailant had a painted white face, eye shadow and ginger hair, and was wearing a bullet proof vest, witnesses said.
He tricked his way into the Fabeltjesland day care centre at 10am by claiming to have a meeting with one of the members of staff. He then drew a 12in knife and began to slash at children aged between a few months and two years old.
There were 21 infants in the creche and six supervisors. All of the victims were stabbed in the throat or head. Parents gathered in the Dendermonde town hall and, with psychologists in support, identified the victims using photographs.
Nine children escaped unharmed. Three of the creche's child care workers were injured as they tried to fend off the attacker.
Theo Janssens, Dendermonde's deputy mayor, said that the man just went crazy.
The knifeman was pursued by a police helicopter and arrested in a nearby supermarket still in possession of the weapon used in the attack. Alphonso De Baaker, a retired teacher, said the attacker had a history of mental illness.