Guilty plea over attempted murder of wife with kettle bell

Man to be sentenced later over attack following breakdown of marriage

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 23rd, 2012.  Photograph: Reuters

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 23rd, 2012. Photograph: Reuters

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 16:24

A 44-year-old Algerian man who attempted to murder his wife by bludgeoning her in the head with a kettle bell is to be sentenced later.

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 23rd, 2012.

The court was told 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.

The court heard that after he tried to kill his wife, Ouachek left the house, pulled the blinds, drove her car to Dublin airport and flew to Tunisia without telling anyone that she was injured.

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 creche that evening, alerted gardaí.

Tom O’ Connell SC, prosecuting, told the court she was initially taken to Tallaght Hospital, where she was found to have a complex fracture to the base of her skull. She 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 Ouachek took the girl 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 had called to a number of childcare facilities to find out where his daughter was.

Supt Peter Duff told Mr O’Connell that Ms Ouachek obtained a barring order on August 21st of 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, used for weight lifting, was located.

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. She said she 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 the incident had taken place when a neighbour, who went to collect her child from the creche, had alerted gardaí.

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 had surgery after the transfer to Beaumont Hospital.

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

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

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

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

Under cross-examination, Supt Duff agreed with Brendan Grehan SC, 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 related to a workplace incident, instructed his solicitor to hand over €12,000 to his wife.

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

He further agreed she can walk and talk, and is pursuing her third 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 she still fears 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 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.

Mr Justice Paul Carney further remanded Ouachek in custody and adjourned sentencing until Monday next.