Global Hunt on, for Double Murder Suspect, Ruth Lawrence, from Clontarf, Dublin?

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GLOBAL MANHUNT 

Face of Dublin woman wanted over brutal double murder of two best pals as victim’s family demand she’s brought home

  • 7:00, 7 Jun 2022

AN international warrant has been issued for the arrest of a woman wanted over the brutal murders of best friends Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan.

Ruth Lawrence, 37, originally from Clontarf in north Dublin, had never come to the attention of the Gardai before the 2014 double killing.

Ruth Lawrence, wanted in connection with the murder of Eoin O'Connor , 32, and Anthony Keegan, 33
Ruth Lawrence, wanted in connection with the murder of Eoin O’Connor , 32, and Anthony Keegan, 33Credit: Collect
Eoin O'Connor, 32
Eoin O’Connor, 32Credit: PA:Press Association
Anthony Keegan, 33
Anthony Keegan, 33Credit: PA:Press Association

But she now finds herself at the centre of a global manhunt. The Irish Sun understands she’s now the subject of a European Arrest warrant.

She left for South Africa with her then boyfriend Neville Peter Van Westhuizen, 39, back in 2014.

Van Westhuizen is also wanted over the double murder, but he’s now serving a sentence in South Africa for another horrific killing.

Gardai confirmed the two murder victims were not criminals or part of any drugs gang.

The pals were found wrapped in plastic sheeting and buried in a shallow grave on Inchicup Island, Lough Sheelin, in Co Meath.

Lawrence remains on the run in South Africa after her visa expired in the last few weeks.

The first image of her has now been released.

The Dublin woman split with Van Westhuizen in 2017.

One source told us: “She’s not the type of person you would expect to be caught up in a double murder inquiry.

“She hasn’t been home in eight years. But she should come home to face these charges.

“Anybody who has information about her whereabouts should contact Interpol immediately.”

We can also reveal how Gardai contacted South African authorities about the case, but were told that there was a backlog of requests for “mutual assistance” because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But now that restrictions have been lifted, Eoin’s brother Brian hopes the Garda team will continue with their efforts to bring the female suspect back to Ireland.

‘IT’S TIME SHE CAME HOME’

Brian said: “This woman is now illegal in South Africa and it’s time she came home.

“We know there were delays with Covid-19 and we just want to know what’s happening with the efforts to bring her back to Ireland.

“But we also firmly believe that anyone who was involved in the planning and cover-up of the murders of my brother and Anthony, who was like a brother to us, should also face justice for what they did.

“It’s now been eight years since two young men were taken from their families in a barbaric crime and no one is yet to be held accountable.”

Brian also paid tribute to his late mother Jean, who fought for justice before she passed away on August 28, 2021.

Brian added: “My mam died without getting justice for her son.

FIGHT FOR JUSTICE

“Rest assured, just because she died, doesn’t mean our fight for ­justice has died.

“We will carry on and never give up the fight for justice.”

At present, Van Westhuizen is serving a 15-year sentence for the “culpable homicide, assault and kidnapping” of his victim.

Along with other gang members, he helped torture Cody after wrongly accusing him of stealing a phone.

Gardai now also want to extradite him from South Africa after the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that he should be charged with the double murder.

But we understand that he has to complete two thirds of his sentence in South Africa before he’s sent back to Ireland.

EXTRADITION REQUEST

Another possibility is that he could be sent back to Ireland to stand trial and, if he is convicted, be returned to South Africa to complete his ­sentence there first.

Once completed, he would return to Ireland to begin his sentence for the double killing. The DPP confirmed the extradition requests had been made.

They said: “An extradition request was completed in our office and the request was transferred through the Department of Foreign Affairs to the authorities in South Africa.

In an exclusive interview with The Irish Sun, Cody’s mum Chantelle also told of her prayers for the families of Eoin and Anthony.

She said: “We got justice for my son but those families in Ireland also deserve justice.

“They need to find peace, and the only way they can get this is through the justice system.

“I feel so sorry for the families in Ireland who have been fighting for justice for so long and I pray they get it some day.”

‘ACTIVELY’ MONITORING

Before her passing last year, Eoin’s mother Jean had also received a letter from the DPP confirming the case was ongoing.

The DPP letter stated: “We write to confirm that an extradition request was completed in our office and that the request was transferred through the Department of Foreign Affairs to the authorities in South Africa.

“Unfortunately, the extradition process, which involves obtaining another country’s assistance and the application of their laws, can be slow moving.

“We continue to actively monitor the progress via the Department of Justice and Foreign Affairs. We will provide the South African authorities with any assistance that they require in order to ensure the extradition process moves as quickly as possible.”

‘INNOCENT CHILDREN’

Before she passed away, Jean O’Connor had also told of her ongoing pain in an interview with The Irish Sun.

She said: “We know the Gardai are working on the case and we have hope that the people who ­brutally murdered Eoin and Anthony will one day be brought before the courts. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the family of the young man in South Africa.

“Our worlds have been ripped apart and two innocent children have been robbed of a future with a loving father.

“My son was no major criminal — the only things that he lived for were his family, friends, dogs and for football.

“Eoin never deserved to die like this — he didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”

ANOTHER FAMILY TRAGEDY

And just two-and-a-half years after losing her son, Jean was also left heartbroken by the brutal murder of her brother-in-law Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan.

Mr Kirwan was married to Jean’s sister Rita before Rita passed away after an illness.

Dublin’s Central Criminal Court heard how the grandad was murdered by the Kinahan cartel after he was ­photographed at the funeral of Eddie Hutch.

At present, senior cartel ­figure Sean McGovern is wanted over his murder.

Jean previously told us: “Noel was a wonderful man who wasn’t involved in anything.

“He’s another innocent man who was simply killed because he went to a funeral.

“He would have done anything for anyone — and he will always be missed.”

Brian and Jean O'Connor, brother and mother of Eoin O'Connor who was murdered in 2014
Brian and Jean O’Connor, brother and mother of Eoin O’Connor who was murdered in 2014Credit: Crispin Rodwell – The Sun Dublin

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