Man who declared delight at Bataclan killings jailed for threatening to kill flatmate

Judge orders that accused receive appropriate psychiatric treatment while in custody

The 40-year-old man became aggressive and told his flatmate that he should read the Koran and believe in his Muslim ways. Photograph: Reuters

The 40-year-old man became aggressive and told his flatmate that he should read the Koran and believe in his Muslim ways. Photograph: Reuters

 

A 40-year-old man who declared he was delighted at the number of people killed in the Bataclan in Paris and also expressed delight at Islamist attacks in London, Nice and Brussels has been jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill one of his flatmates.

Smael Heirouche, who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic but had stopped taking his medication at the time of the incident at a flat on James Street in Cork on November 16th last, also told gardaí that he would love to behead Jews if he saw them on the street.

Det Garda Geraldine Daly told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Heirouche, a Dutch national of Moroccan descent, had a previous conviction from the Netherlands for threatening to blow up a bus during another period when he stopped taking his medication for schizophrenia.

She said that on the day in question, Heirouche came into the livingroom of the flat he was sharing with three French nationals and dressed in “Muslim clothes” and carrying a copy of the Koran and he asked one of the flatmates if he had read the Koran.

The flatmate told him that he hadn’t read the Koran and did not believe it as he was “scientific”, at which Heirouche became aggressive and told him that he should read the Koran and believe in his Muslim ways. When the man declined, he became threatening.

“Heirouche called him a Zionist and came closer, looking into his eyes and said ‘We cut heads off Zionists’, before drawing his hand across the injured party’s throat in a cutting motion, leading the injured party to genuinely believe he was going to be killed and he feared for his life,” Det Garda Daly said.

Beheading videos

Another of the French men living in the flat recorded Heirouche on his mobile phone as he declared that the attacks at the Bataclan, Nice and Brussels were excellent things to have happened and he started shouting “Kill them, kill them” in relation to all people other than Muslims.

He also spoke about a man who blew himself up in the subway in London and said that unfortunately not enough people had been killed and he repeated his views on the Bataclan atrocity when he was arrested and interviewed by gardaí, said Det Garda Daly.

He said he thought Islamic State were “awesome” and he liked watching a video of on YouTube of people being beheaded and he said he would love to cut the head off a Jew if he saw one on the street as he thought it would make him happy and send him to heaven when he died.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that it was a highly worrying case as it appeared that Heirouche was fine when he took his medication but given that he was not taking his medication at the time and refusing to take it since, the injured party was right to fear for his life.

Shouting from the dock

When defence counsel, Dermot Sheehan SC said that he was deeply disturbed by a psychiatric report on his client who had refused to engage with him, Heirouche began to shout from the dock that he didn’t know who Mr Sheehan was and he knew nothing about seeing a psychiatrist.

“There was no immediate threat to the person who made the complaint – I made some statements that I regret but at the time there was no threat so give me my sentence and let me go,” he shouted at the judge, before telling him he was not stupid and there was no psychiatric report.

The judge ordered Heirouche to be removed from the court as he inquired as to the possibility of committing him for medical treatment first before imposing sentence but he was told by prosecution barrister Donal O’Sullivan BL that the prison authorities could do that if they saw fit.

The judge said it was a challenging case, particularly given that Heirouche had a serious mental health issue which was the underlying factor in the case as it had been in the Netherlands where he had been committed to a mental institution when he threatened to blow up the bus.

The fact that he had no family or support network here in Ireland was also a concern, but he believed Heirouche posed a real risk as long as he was refusing to take his medication and he sentenced him to five years in jail and ordered that he receive appropriate psychiatric treatment while in custody.