Irish detectives are preparing to travel to South Africa to bring Ruth Lawrence, a suspect in a double murder case, back to Dublin to stand trial. Lawrence has been in a South African jail for six-and-a-half months after her arrest and subsequent extradition process. The Hawks, an elite South African police unit, arrested Lawrence during a dawn raid on October 4, and Chrispin Phiri of the South African Department of Justice confirmed her extradition.
Lawrence’s Co-Accused to Face Extradition After Sentence Completion
Lawrence’s co-accused, Neville van der Westhuizen, is currently serving a 15-year sentence in South Africa for culpable homicide. After his sentence is finished, an Interpol extradition warrant against him will be activated, and an extradition case will be heard.
The Murder Case
In 2014, Lawrence and Van der Westhuizen fled Dublin after two men, Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan, were found dead with gunshot wounds to their heads. The couple is believed to have incurred debts with a Dublin drugs gang, and the victims were executed when they attempted to collect a five-figure sum.
Hiding Out in South Africa
The couple managed to evade detection and live in South Africa, with Lawrence altering her appearance and using the name Ruth Lawless while working in various tattoo parlours. However, in October of last year, the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions issued a new arrest warrant to locate the fugitives. Van der Westhuizen had already been imprisoned for the culpable homicide of a teenager, and Lawrence was arrested at a suburban hideaway in Bloemfontein.
Lawrence Will be Formally Charged
Upon her arrival in Ireland, Lawrence, who is originally from Clontarf, North Dublin, will be formally charged with the murders of O’Connor and Keegan in April 2014. The authorities suspect both men were shot at close range, either at the Dublin home they rented or nearby.
Details of the Extradition
South African police will transport Lawrence in handcuffs and leg shackles 250 miles from Bansvlei holding cells in Bloemfontein to Johannesburg, where Irish police will complete the legal paperwork on May 21. Lawrence will then be flown back to Dublin on May 24 to stand trial.