Man in Cork city threatened to behead Jews, court hears

Smael Heirouche (39) accused of making threats to kill French nationals

A man in Cork city threatened to behead Jews, Cork District Court heard on Thursday. File photograph: Getty Images

A man in Cork city threatened to behead Jews, it was alleged before Cork District Court  on Thursday.

Smael Heirouche (39), a Dutch citizen, was charged with making threats to kill or cause serious harm to a named individual at an address at James Street in Cork city centre on November 14th, contrary to Section 5 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.

Det Geraldine Daly told the court that she arrested Mr Heirouche at Bridewell Garda station on Wednesday, November 16th, after receiving statements of complaint from two French nationals.

The two were living in a rented property with Mr Heirouche on James Street.


They alleged in their statements that Mr Heirouche’s attitude towards them changed on Monday, November 14th, when his behaviour became highly erratic.

Ms Daly said the two complainants alleged that Mr Heirouche called them Zionists.

They said he began quoting the Koran at them and when they informed him that they were not Muslim, he said: “Zionists should have their throats cut.”

“He was quoting the Koran. They did not have the same belief. He did not take kindly to this. He made reference to recent terrorist attacks in France.

“He said [the attacks were] excellent and . . . gave him great joy,” said Ms Daly, adding that one of the complainants recorded the events on his phone.


One of the complainants told gardaí that Mr Heirouche rubbed his hand against the complainant’s throat, while wearing long black robes and carrying the Koran.

“He believed Mr Heirouche was going to kill him,” Ms Daly said.

Ms Daly said Mr Heirouche claimed he was making the threat in the name of Islamic extremism.

She said that, during interviews at Bridewell Garda station, Mr Heirouche stated that if he had a sword he would cut off the heads of Jews.

He also told gardaí that anything he may have said to the two French people was as a messenger of the Lord, Ms Daly said.

Insp Ronan Kenneally said that gardaí were objecting to bail.

Ms Daly said one of the grounds of the Garda objection was the seriousness of the charge, pointing out that making a threat to kill carried a jail sentence of up to 10 years upon conviction.

She said gardaí believed Mr Heirouche would abscond if granted bail, as he had flights booked to London and Marrakech.

Judge Leo Malone appointed solicitor Emmet Boyle to represent him, but Mr Heirouche said he did not want legal representation.

The judge refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear again on November 24th.

He also ordered that Mr Heirouche undergo psychiatric assessment while in custody.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times