Woman wanted over Sheelin island murders arrested

Friends Eoin O'Connor and Anthony Keegan were found murdered in May 2014.

An Irish woman wanted for questioning in relation to the murder of two men whose bodies were found buried in a shallow grave on an island on Lough Sheelin eight years ago has been arrested in South Africa.

The bodies of 32-year-old Eoin O'Connor and 33-year-old Anthony Keegan were found May 26, 2014. Both males had been reported missing close to a month earlier, on April 22. Their bodies were found wrapped in plastic sheeting and buried in a shallow grave on Inchicup Island

Ruth Lawrence (42), originally from Clontarf, Dublin, was wanted by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) having fled Ireland with her former partner, Neville Peter Van Westhuizen, a native of South Africa.

Van Westhuizen (39), is also wanted in connection with the investigation into the killings. He us currently already serving a life sentence of 15 years in a South African jail for the killing of a teenager in 2017.

He too is expected to be quizzed by police.

Van Westhuizen had lived in the Cavan town area, as well in the Ballyjamesduff area for a period prior to his disappearance.

The Hawks – South Africa’s elite policing unit – said Lawerence’s arrest was carried out on foot of an international warrant. The warrant was issued back in June of this year.

Lawrence is now expected to appear before a court in Durban later today.

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

She was arrested in an area called Pellissier, in Bloemfontein, one of South Africa's three capital cities and the capital of the Free State province.

“Her arrest comes on an Interpol warrant regarding the murder of Eoin O’Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) in Ireland,” Cpt Singo said. “They were both found murdered in 2014 and after the murder of the deceased persons the suspect then fled the country to South Africa”.

A number of arrests have been carried out to date in relation to the ongoing investigation into the murders of best friends Messrs O’Connor and Keegan.

However no one has ever been charged in connection with the murders.

The men had travelled to together to the Cavan area in a silver Ford Focus car registration 04 D 46380 which was subsequently found abandoned at a scenic view point over Lough Owell near Mullingar.

Gardaí from this region have in the past travelled over to South Africa to make contact with the country’s Fugitive Extradition desk.