Fugitive in SA Agrees to Return to Ireland to Face Murder Charges
Fugitive Ruth Lawrence, who has been on the run for eight years for the double murder of two best friends has agreed to return to Ireland to face the music. She has been hiding in South Africa for the past eight years. Dubliner Ruth, 42, was dramatically arrested in South Africa last week after a […]
Fugitive Ruth Lawrence, who has been on the run for eight years for the double murder of two best friends has agreed to return to Ireland to face the music. She has been hiding in South Africa for the past eight years.
Dubliner Ruth, 42, was dramatically arrested in South Africa last week after a dawn swoop by the elite Hawks police unit, acting on an Interpol warrant.
She did a moonlit flit from 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 KZN, South Africa for the horrific killing of a teenager.
Yesterday Ruth, who had spent seven nights on remand in a tough local prison, confirmed she would not fight extradition back to Ireland.
She appeared at Bloemfontein Magistrates Court in Free State Province where her legal adviser said she was prepared to pay for her own flight back to Dublin, and would not be applying for bail. Ruth was remanded in custody.
It is not known if Lawrence was using her own name or an alias while on-the-run in South Africa, but she is thought to have had a full time job to pay her way.
National Prosecuting Spokesperson 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 SA”.
Ruth is wanted in connection with the killing of best friends Eoin O’Connor, 32, and Anthony Keegan, 33, whose bodies were found wrapped in plastic sheeting.
They were buried in a shallow grave on Inchicup Island, Lough Sheelin in Co Meath in 2014 at the time Lawrence and her lover van der Westhuizen fled.
Lawrence split with her then boyfriend van der Westhuizen in 2017 after he was arrested with three friends for the killing of a teenage boy in Durban.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo said their team swooped on Tuesday last week, after a tip-off as to where Lawrence was in hiding.
She was arrested in Pellissier, Bloemfontein, and 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”.
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 whom they suspected of having stolen a mobile phone.
They beat the boys up, then forced them to drink a poisonous concoction and finally let them go… but one of the teenagers died in agony when he got home. The boy’s mother told an Irish newspaper that she hopes the parents of the slain Irish friends also get closure.
To use any of the text, video or photos, please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd.