Interpol warrant | 

Dublin fugitive on the run in South Africa for eight years to return to Ireland after arrest

Ruth Lawrence is wanted in connection with killing of two men whose bodies were buried on lake island in Meath in 2014

Ruth Lawrence

Jamie PyattIndependent.ie

Fugitive Ruth Lawrence who has been on the run for eight years following the double murder of two best friends has agreed to return to Ireland after being arrested last week.

The 42-year-old Dubliner was dramatically arrested in South Africa last week after a dawn swoop by the elite Hawks police unit acting on an Interpol warrant.

She fled Ireland in 2014 with then boyfriend Neville van der Westhuizen (39) and headed for his native country South Africa.

Her ex-boyfriend is also wanted in connection with the double murder but is already serving a life sentence in South Africa for a horrific killing.

Ms Lawrence, who had spent seven nights on remand in a tough local prison, confirmed she would not fight extradition to Ireland.

She appeared at Bloemfontein Magistrates Court in Free State Province

Ms Lawrence, who has apparently been living under her own name in the large city and holding down a job, will be flown home when legal paperwork is completed.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Phaladi Shuping confirmed: "The case has been postponed until next month for the South African and Irish authorities to work on logistical arrangements on how she will be handed to Irish officials by South Africa."

She is wanted in connection with the killing of best friends Eoin O’Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) whose bodies were found wrapped up in plastic sheeting.

They were buried in a shallow grave on Inchicup Island, Lough Sheelin, Co Meath, in 2014 at the time Lawrence and her partner Van der Westhuizen fled.

The gardaí have confirmed the two murder victims were not criminals or part of a drugs gang but have not revealed a motive for their killings.

Ms Lawrence split with Van der Westhuizen in 2017 after he was arrested with three friends for the murder of a teenage boy.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo said their team swooped on Tuesday last week after a tip-off as to where Ms Lawrence was in hiding.

She was arrested in Pellissier, Bloemfontein, and was remanded in custody.

Captain Singo said: “Her arrest comes on an Interpol warrant regarding the murder of Eoin O’Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) in Ireland.

“They were both found murdered in 2014 – and after the murder of both the deceased persons, the suspect then fled the country to South Africa.”

Ms Lawrence’s former lover was given a 15-year prison sentence for murder, attempted murder and kidnapping at Durban High Court in 2017.

The court heard he and three other men grabbed three teenagers in a local tattoo parlour who they suspected of having stolen a mobile phone.

They beat the boys up, then forced them to drink a poisonous concoction. After letting them go, one of the teenagers died in agony back at his home.

Van der Westhuizen, it was said in court, was also wanted by Irish police in connection with the murder of a member of an Irish drug cartel in 2014.


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