Woman wanted over the double murder of two best friends in Ireland is arrested in South Africa


Woman wanted over the double murder of two best friends in Ireland is arrested in South Africa after eight years on the run

  • Ruth Lawrence was arrested after a dawn raid in Bloemfontein yesterday
  • She was wanted over the killings of Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan
  • She fled Ireland in 2014 with her boyfriend who is in jail for a separate murder 

An Irish woman who has been on the run for eight years for the double murder of two best friends has been arrested in South Africa.

Ruth Lawrence, 42, from Clontarf in North Dublin was at the centre of a global manhunt after the brutal killings of Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan in 2014.

The Hawks – an elite South African police unit – said they were acting on an international warrant when they carried out the dawn raid in Pellissier, Bloemfontein, yesterday.

Ruth Lawrence, who has been on the run for eight years for the double murder of her two best friends has been arrested in South Africa

She appeared in court today and has been remanded in custody until October 10. 

She disappeared from Ireland in 2014 shortly after the killings with then boyfriend Neville Van Westhuizen, 39, and headed for his native South Africa.

Her boyfriend is also wanted in connection with the double murder but is already serving a life sentence in South Africa for a horrific killing.

He is serving 15 years in Durban for the murder of a teenager in 2017, but will be quizzed by the Hawks following Lawrence’s arrest.

Lawrence split with him that year. 

The Gardai confirmed the two Irish victims were not criminals or part of a drugs gang but have not revealed a motive for the double killing.

Eoin O'Connor

Anthony Keegan

Lawrence, 42, from Clontarf in North Dublin was at the centre of a global manhunt after the brutal killings of Eoin O’Connor (left) and Anthony Keegan (right) in 2014

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

Hawks spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo said vital information about Lawrence and her whereabouts was received on September 28.

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 the deceased persons the suspect then fled the country to South Africa’.

Lawrence had never come to the attention of the Gardai before the double killing in 2014.

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