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Friday 19 September 2014

15 years for man who attempted to murder wife with kettle bell

Published 21/07/2014 | 12:34

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Justice Paul Carney
Justice Paul Carney

A 44-year-old Algerian man who attempted to murder his wife by bludgeoning her in the head with a kettle bell has been sentenced to 15 years in prison with three suspended.

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Lounes Ouachek of St Dominic’s Terrace, Tallaght pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the attempted murder of Ruta Ouachek (35) at that address on August 23, 2012.

The court was told that the couple’s marriage broke down after he lost his job and Ms Ouachek had commenced an engineering degree.

Ouachek who was a “devout muslim” “was unhappy about the path she was going on,” the court heard.

Mr Justice Paul Carney noted that when Ms Ouachek returned to full-time education “the accused appears to have resented her independence in this regard.”

He described the crime as “callous and brutal in nature” and noted that he fled the scene.

In mitigation Mr Justice Carney told the court he was taking account of Ouachek’s plea of guilty, his absence of previous convictions and noted that he was a foreign national.

He ordered that the sentence be backdated to February 14, 2013 for time spent in custody.

The judge also ordered him to keep away from his wife and undergo 18 months post-release supervision.

The court heard that after he tried to kill his wife, Ouachek left the house, pulled the blinds and locked the door before driving her car to Dublin airport.

He flew to Tunisia via Paris without telling anyone that his wife lay injured in a pool of blood for nine hours.

Ms Ouachek, who is originally from Lithuania, was later found lying unconscious on the bathroom floor of her home in St Dominic’s Terrace after a neighbour, who collected her daughter from crèche that evening, alerted gardai.

Tom O’ Connell SC prosecuting told the court that she was initially taken to Tallaght Hospital where she had fractures to her skull and facial bones and was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital.

The head injury resulted in bruising to the right side of her brain, which affected motor function to her face and sensory problems in her left arm and fingers.

The court heard the couple arrived in Ireland in 2005 and had married in 2011 in Algeria.

The couple had a daughter in 2007 and the court heard that Ouachek took her to Algeria without his wife’s consent in February 2012.

By May 2012 the couple had separated and Ms Ouachek said she wanted a divorce.

Ouachek left Ireland in July 2012 and after his return in August the court heard he was to some extent stalking his wife and called to a number of childcare facilities to find out where his daughter was.

Superintendant Peter Duff told Mr O’Connell that Ms Ouachek obtained a barring order on August 21 that year.

Ms Ouachek had some of her husband’s possessions stored in the boot of her car and her husband asked her where his metal kettle bell which was used for weight lifting.

She handed it to him and she said her next memory was being on the kitchen floor on her back with her husband sitting on top of her, hitting her on both sides of the head with the kettle bell.

Ms Ouachek said she believed he was going to kill her, was screaming for help and “the more I shouted the more he hit me”.

The court was told Ms Ouachek was not located until eight or nine hours after events had taken place when a neighbour, who went to collect her child from crèche, had alerted gardai.

The court heard she somehow made her way to the bathroom and locked herself in where she was discovered in a pool of blood.

She sustained fractures to her skull and jaw and was taken to Tallaght Hospital before later being transferred to Beaumont Hospital where she had surgery.

Ouachek was arrested in Germany in February 19, 2013 and was extradited back to Ireland the following month.

He had booked flights to Tunisia after trying to buy a ticket to Algeria but none were available.

When charged Ouachek told gardai “I didn’t mean to do that, it was an accident.”

The court heard that the couple’s relationship had deteriorated after he lost his job through injury and she had started a degree in structural engineering.

Under cross-examination Supt Duff agreed with Mr Brendan Grehan defending that Ms Ouachek had commenced third level education and his client who was a “devout muslim” “was unhappy about the path she was going on.”

A letter was handed into court saying that Ouachek, who had received compensation from a workplace accident, instructed his solicitor to hand over €12,000 to his wife.

Supt Duff agreed that she has some scarring and damage to her head and dribbles out of the left side of her mouth.

He further agreed that she is walking, talking and pursuing her 3rd level education.

Ms Ouachek continues to suffer both physically and psychologically as a result of the attempted murder.

“My life lacks stability and certainty. I have lost confidence in myself and the world,” she said in a victim impact statement, which was read to the court on her behalf.

The court heard that she still fears that her daughter could be taken by “friends or supporters” of her husband who regularly travel with false documents.

Ms Ouachek also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and the court heard that UCD has restructured her degree so she can continue with her studies.

Mr O’ Connell told the court the offence lies at the upper end of the spectrum for attempted murders.

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