Wife killer gets 30-day 'reprieve'
McArdle has month to find €220,000 for family before facing jail
Published 04/03/2010 | 05:00
WIFE-killer Dermot McArdle has been given a temporary jail reprieve in a new twist to the decade-long saga.
The father-of-three has persuaded a Spanish court to give him another month to pay a total €220,000 compensation linked to his 2008 conviction for the manslaughter of his wife Kelly-Anne Corcoran.
McArdle had a tense 90-minute meeting with court officials in Malaga on Tuesday after complying with a deadline to show his face there by today at the latest -- or face an international arrest warrant and jail. He was granted another 30 days to hand over the outstanding cash in person.
Kelly-Anne's parents will receive €100,000 under the terms of McArdle's sentence while other relatives will receive €120,000.
Judge Fernando Gonzalez agreed to the new deadline after the private meeting, which McArdle attended with his lawyer Luis Casaubon.
Mr Casaubon and his client refused to make any comment to the media after the closed-door hearing.
But Hector Gonzalez, lawyer for the family of McArdle's late wife , confirmed yesterday that the court had granted her killer more time.
The judge indicated he still intended making McArdle serve a two-year jail sentence for his wife's manslaughter which he had been expected to suspend.
Mr Gonzalez explained: "McArdle has been given 30 more days to pay the compensation he owes and present himself for jail.
"Our understanding is he will serve time in prison even if he pays the money."
But a source close to the case said: "McArdle's only chance of escaping jail now is by paying the outstanding compensation on time.
"The new ruling the judge has made says he must return to Malaga within 30 days to pay the money and present himself for jail.
"The judge may lift the prison order if he produces the money but he's given McArdle no guarantees.
"As things stand at the moment he's on his last month of freedom."
Twenty-eight-year-old Kelly-Anne plunged to her death in February 2000 from her fourth-floor hotel room in the upmarket Costa del Sol resort of Marbella following an argument with her husband.
Former factory manager McArdle (40) from Haggardstown, Dundalk, Co Louth, was convicted of her manslaughter in October 2008 after a six-day trial.
State prosecutors dropped a murder charge against McArdle halfway through the court case and asked a jury to convict him of accidentally killing his wife instead. He launched two unsuccessful appeals against his conviction before this week's new development.
McArdle was last night thought to be on his way back to Ireland after being told he was free to leave Spain.