Man Walks Free After Stabbing Ex-Wife to Death Outside Court Moments After Divorce Granted

A man has walked free from court after stabbing his ex-wife to death moments after their divorce was granted.

Mohamed Koukouh was cleared of murdering his ex-wife Rita Waeles outside a court in Veurne, Belgium, where the divorce had been given the go-ahead just minutes before.

The duo had been standing in the courthouse car park in 2018 when they began arguing about money, a jury was told.

As the row escalated, Koukouh pulled out a sharp tool called an awl and stabbed his former wife with it.

At court this week, some two years after the act, 70-year-old Koukouh was cleared of murder and found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

After the jury delivered its verdict, the court sentenced Koukouh to five years in prison, local media reported.

However, due to the time he has already spent in custody since the killing in March 2018, as well as an early tariff, he was freed.

By contrast, a murder conviction would have attracted a sentence of up to 30 years.

File photo of a gavel. Mohamed Koukouh was cleared of murdering his ex-wife Rita Waeles outside a court in Veurne, Belgium. Getty

His lawyer Kris Vincke told VRT NWS he was delighted to have been freed and the verdict meant the jury found he had not acted with malice aforethought.

He said his client had not intended to stab his wife.

He told the news organization: "He never intended to kill her. So it was not premeditated, but on a whim when he learned that after their divorce his wife was not going to keep the agreements about the money.

"He also didn't aim at the heart region with the awl, it was rather a coincidence that he hit her there."

Local media reported that the court dismissed the evidence of Koukouh's own son, Jamal, who had testified that his father had expressed vengeful emotions towards his mother prior to the killing.

Jamal told investigators: "I know I won't please my father by saying that, but it's the truth.

"And telling the truth is the only thing I can do for my mother."

Koukouh was set to return to his home in the village of Lo-Reninge.

A stream of neighbors had spoken to the court throughout the proceedings about Koukouh, describing him to officials as friendly and peaceable.

Vincke added: "This is a man that nobody has a bad word for.

"We are very happy that justice has been done."