Dutch man goes on trial for murder of his Irish-born wife

Arnold ‘Arno’ Viguurs admits killing Martina O’Brien-Viguurs from Rathkeale, Co Limerick

 

A Dutch man pushed a rosary beads into his Irish born wife’s hands after killing her with blows to the head, his trial in the Netherlands has heard.

Martina O’Brien-Viguurs (64) from Rathkeale, Co Limerick was planning to travel to Ireland on November 9th last with her husband to view houses for sale. A grandmother of 11 and mother of eight, she was missing her extended family and hoping they could start a new life in Ireland as retirees.

Arnold ‘Arno’ Viguurs (65) who had co-owned a leasing agency locally in the city of Hertogenbosch, about 100 kms from Amsterdam, stood in the dock and said “yes I am a killer but I am not a murderer”.

Forensic tests showed injures to his wife’s hands and elbows showed evidence of a struggle. She had been hit with a heavy instrument – a hammer – a number of times and there were also marks of strangulation which it was concluded caused her death. He had placed a cushion under her head after hitting her.

Mr Viguurs, describing his wife - a former air hostess - as “the love of his life” told the court he killed her because he planned to take his own life to escape money problems and prevent her from discovering a litany of lies about their financial situation.

He had promised her they could afford a home in Ireland after selling their house in Hertogenbosch. But in reality he was broke and for several years they had had to downscale their lifestyle due to his dwindling income.

Before Christmas 2014, Mr Viguurs, who was suffering from depression, told his wife he contemplated suicide. She pleaded with him not to take his life, saying she could not live without him, he claimed in court on Wednesday.

“Then I realised that if I was to kill myself I had to take her with me,” he said. After killing his wife, he went upstairs but could not go ahead with his suicide.

He eventually called an emergency ambulance and police number and when they arrived he was still holding the telephone and they found his dead wife on the kitchen floor.

The public prosecutor described him as a coward who tried to mask his lies. He could have come clean with his wife whom he kept in the dark about the severity of their financial situation. Instead he embarked on a callous and shocking way to end her life.

A verdict of murder with intent was demanded as was a 14 year jail sentence. Judges will deliver their verdict in 14 days.