After killing his wife with blows to the head followed by strangulation her Dutch husband placed a cushion under her and pushed a rosary beads into her hands, his trial in the Netherlands has heard.
Grandmother of 11 and mother of eight Martina O’Brien Viguurs, a native of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, who had also lived in Cork before moving to the Netherlands, had planned to travel to Ireland on November 9 last with the man to continue viewing houses for sale.
But when they should have boarded their flight from Amsterdam to Ireland she was already dead. Martina was slain by her husband of four years Arnold Viguurs who had never bought their tickets because he admitted he “couldn’t afford them”.
In the dock yesterday he declared “yes I am a killer but I am not a murderer”. Later he added “Tina meant everything to me”. In a letter two days before killing her he wrote “Tina I have always loved you. I am sorry I made such a mess of our life and I hope you can forgive me. I can’t leave you behind in the trouble I caused. I hope you find peace in heaven.”
The tragic drama that led to the death of Martina, who doted on her large family in Ireland and dreamt of a new life back home, had unfolded earlier in the court.
Forensic tests showed injures to her hands and elbows, evidence of a struggle. She had been hit with a hammer a number of times and there were also marks of strangulation which it was concluded caused her death.
Arnold Viguurs told the court he decided to kill her because he planned to kill himself to escape money problems and prevent her from discovering the lies about their finances.
He had promised her they could afford a home back in Ireland after selling their house in Hertogenbosch. But in reality he was broke.
He told his wife there was €175,000 over to buy a house in Ireland. But in reality, after the sale of their Dutch home and the payment of his debts, there was nothing left.
He had deluded Martina about their meltdown after selling out his portion of a leasing agency he co-owned. The shares he received were worthless by 2014. By then he was receiving unemployment benefit pretending it was a pre-pension from a fictitious insurance policy.
Just before Christmas 2014, Viguurs, by now suffering from depression, told Martina he contemplated suicide but she was left in the dark about the true reason.
“Then I realised that if I was to kill myself I had to take her with me,” he said. After slaying his wife he went upstairs and was about to hang himself “but could not go further”. He called an ambulance and the police.
The public prosecutor described him as a coward who tried to mask his lies. He could have come clean with his wife. Instead he embarked on a callous and shocking way to end her life.
A verdict of murder with intent was demanded and a 14-year jail sentence.
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