Friday 23 February 2018

Killer makes last-ditch attempt to avoid prison

Gerard Couzens

CONVICTED killer Dermot McArdle has made a last-ditch attempt to escape a two-year jail sentence for the death of his wife.

The decade-long saga took a further twist yesterday when it emerged the father of three is fighting a court decision to refuse an appeal against his incarceration.

Lawyers for McArdle, from Haggardstown, Dundalk, Co Louth, have formally asked Malaga-based Judge Fernando Gonzalez to reconsider an earlier ruling that the Irishman could not contest the prison order.

The judge handed down the jail term in October 2008 after a jury convicted McArdle of unintentionally killing wife Kelly-Ann Corcoran in February 2000 at a Costa del Sol hotel.

Jail terms of two years or less are normally suspended in Spain for first-time offenders -- but the judge ruled against suspending McArdle's sentence earlier this year after attempts by the Irishman to overturn his 2008 conviction and sentence failed.

Lawyers acting for Kelly-Ann's family have confirmed the new appeal.

Hector Gonzalez, who represented her relatives in the trial against McArdle, said: "The trial judge told McArdle's lawyer his decision to send his client to jail could not be appealed.


"McArdle's lawyer is basically appealing this ruling on the basis that it goes against a Supreme Court agreement.

"The trial judge has to decide whether to admit the appeal.

"If he admits the appeal it will go to a higher regional court which will ultimately decide whether McArdle's jail sentence should be suspended or not."

The move by McArdle's legal team means a deadline on the payment of compensation linked to his 2008 manslaughter conviction has been put on hold.

A court in Malaga had ordered him to pay the €220,000 he owes by April 19.

He has to pay €60,000 each to his two sons by Kelly-Ann, Mark and Paul, for the loss of their mother.

He is also under orders to pay the dead woman's grieving parents €100,000.

McArdle, prevented from attending court on the deadline date by the volcanic ash cloud, took advantage of the travel chaos it sparked to make his latest attempt to avoid jail.

A decision on whether or not his new appeal will be formally considered is expected within days.

An insider said: "McArdle is obviously desperate to avoid jail and he's trying every trick in the book.

"His legal team is jumping over hoops to keep him a free man. The issue of compensation is up in the air until this appeal request is resolved."

Irish Independent

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