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McArdle 'must serve 2-year jail sentence'

WIFE-killer Dermot McArdle has failed in his final bid to avoid jail and has been ordered to return to Spain to begin a two-year prison sentence there.

The 40-year-old has launched a series of appeals since being convicted in October 2008 of the manslaughter of Kelly-Anne Corcoran.

But the court dealing with his final appeal has ruled against him and last Friday he was finally told he cannot escape jail.

Hector Gonzalez, the lawyer acting for the victim's family, said: "His time is finally up. He has no further options of appeal.

"The road has been long and tough, but justice will finally be done. That is all Kelly-Anne's family have wanted."

Ms Corcoran (29) died in February 2000, two days after falling from room 421 of the five-star Melia Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, following an argument with her husband.

McArdle, from Haggards-town, Dundalk, Co Louth, stood trial in October 2008 following a lengthy legal bid to avoid extradition to Spain.

Jurors at the court in Malaga acquitted him of murder but convicted him of manslaughter, rejecting his claim that his wife tripped over the balcony, and he was handed a two-year jail sentence.

Jail terms of two years or less are normally suspended in Spain for first-time offenders, but trial judge Fernando Gonzalez ordered him to serve the sentence.

He was also told to pay his late wife's parents Ted and Bridie €100,000 in compensation and to pay another €60,000 to each of his two sons by Ms Corcoran, Mark (12) and Paul (10).

Since then, he has fought a lengthy battle to avoid being sent to prison.

His first appeal against the conviction was rejected by the High Court of Andalusia in Granada in March last year.

A second appeal against the conviction was rejected by the Supreme Court in Madrid in November. Similar appeals by McArdle against his sentence also failed.

He then appealed against the trial judge's decision not to suspend his prison sentence, and his lawyers argued that the decision broke a Supreme Court ruling. He was allowed to remain in Ireland, where he has a new partner, while the process remained unsettled.

But the High Court of Andalusia rejected that appeal and last Friday ordered McArdle to return to Spain within 20 days or face arrest.