McArdle loses appeal over manslaughter conviction

 

DERMOT McARDLE has lost his bid to overturn his conviction for the manslaughter of his wife Kelly-Anne Corcoran.

Appeal court judges in Granada, Spain, yesterday threw out his attempt to reverse the conviction and a two-year sentence meted out to him after a six-day trial in Málaga last October.

The three judges rejected his legal challenges to the manslaughter verdict over Ms Corcoran’s fall from a fourth floor hotel balcony in Marbella on February 11th, 2000.

McArdle and his legal team were also ordered to pay the appeal costs, costs associated with the original trial and compensation to Ms Corcoran’s family. The total payout is thought to be about €500,000.

The judges announced their decision in a 28-page legal document released four days after an hour-long appeal court hearing.

McArdle’s barrister Luis Casaubon put forward an eight-point appeal that claimed his client had not received a fair trial and had been convicted on “contradictory” evidence from British pensioner Roy Haines who claimed in court but not in police statements he saw McArdle lifting Ms Corcoran over his head on their balcony before she plunged to her death.

Augusto Mendez de Lugo, president of the panel of three judges who presided the hearing, dismissed it by ruling: “When the claim being exercised lacks all consistency and the uselessness of the claim is so obvious that the person exercising it must know it to be so, as is the case here, costs must be imposed on the person exercising such a claim.” Ratifying the original manslaughter verdict, he added: “The convict’s actions infringed the most elemental duty of care that anyone with the slightest diligence should observe.”

The three judges also rejected McArdle’s attempts to escape legal costs imposed on him after the original trial, including the costs of the private prosecution funded by Ms Corcoran’s family.

The decision means former factory manager McArdle will have to pay €220,000 in compensation to Ms Corcoran’s family. Insurance companies are now expected to demand McArdle returns hundreds of thousands of euro in life insurance he received after his wife’s death.McArdle now has five days to decide whether to launch an appeal in Spain’s Supreme Court.

If he waives a further appeal, his lawyer will ask the original trial court judge to suspend McArdle’s two-year-jail sentence. First-time offenders in Spain are normally spared prison if their sentences total two years or less.

Kelly-Anne Corcoran (29) died two days after falling from room 421 of Marbella’s five-star Melia Don Pepe Hotel following an argument with her husband. McArdle, from Haggardstown, Dundalk, was found guilty of her manslaughter on October 7th, 2008.