A man jailed for five years for threatening to kill French flatmates in Cork told them that terrorist attacks in France and Brussels were excellent things.
Smael Heirouche’s diatribe was recorded by one of the men who was threatened in the Cork flat on November 15, 2016. They had been sharing the flat from October 9 without incident. On the night in question, Heirouche arrived wearing full traditional Muslim clothing and carrying the Quran.
On the recording made on a mobile phone Heirouche was heard to say: “I have no problem with that, if they go to France, just in the subway or somewhere, it doesn’t matter where, and just kill a bunch of people.
“I’ve no problem with that. It’s good. I like it. Ya. Did I scare you now? Are you scared of me now?”
Later, he told gardaí: “I was delighted that the people in the Bataclan in Paris were shot, it filled me with joy and the person who did it was shot, right. It’s hard but sometimes it relieves the anger in the heart.
“Those people were innocent, dancing and drinking and it ended in a one-way ticket to hell and the perpetrator went straight to heaven, first class to heaven.”
Asked about Islamic State, he said: “Awesome, I saw a video on YouTube where the head and body were in two pieces and I liked it, it was nice to see.”
He said he would love to cut the head off a Jew if he was walking behind a Jewish person on the street, just to see what it felt like, and believed this would make him happy and send him to heaven when he died.
Heirouche has been in Ireland since September 2016, working first in Kildare and then in Cork City. He had no contacts in Cork, Det Garda Geraldine Daly said yesterday. He had 30 previous convictions from the Netherlands including one for threatening to blow up a bus in 2010.
Det Garda Daly said she spoke to the defendant’s brother who told him Heirouche had been diagnosed as schizophrenic in the Netherlands. He said the family was Muslim but not staunchly. He said Heirouche was not staunchly Muslim either and was known to drink alcohol and gamble.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the defendant’s obvious psychiatric condition had not improved. Heirouche had to be removed from court during the sentencing hearing as he began shouting at the judge.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the appropriate sentence was five years in prison and he recommended the accused would get all possible psychiatric care. The judge said the threat posed by the accused was “very much at the higher level”.
Dermot Sheehan, barrister, was appointed on free legal aid to represent the accused but he said Heirouche refused to engage with him in any meaningful way. Mr Sheehan said he did not believe that the accused understood him.
Donal O’Sullivan said a psychiatrist had seen the accused in prison and deemed him fit to plead to the charge against him.
Heirouche entered his guilty plea earlier in the week and was remanded in custody for sentencing yesterday.
He has been in custody since the threats he made were reported in November 2016. Yesterday’s sentence was backdated to then.
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