MALAGA court has issued an international search and arrest warrant for 41-year-old Irishman Michael Dermot McArdle, sentenced in 2008 to two years in prison for the negligent manslaughter of his wife.
The warrant was issued after McArdle failed to hand himself in to serve his sentence. In February 2000 his wife, Kelly-Anne Corcoran, fell from the balcony of their room at the five-star Melia Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella.
The couple had a violent argument, which deteriorated into a fight.
In court, he claimed that his wife’s death had been accidental as she tried to stop their son from climbing the railing.
The child, who witnessed the fall, told the court “Daddy pushed mummy down”.
McArdle was ordered to pay €10,000 compensation to the victim’s parents and €60,000 to each of their two children.
The Corcoran family vowed to donate any amount of compensation they receive to charity, as they said money could not make up for the loss of Kelly-Anne.
The jury reached its decision having considered all aspects of the evidence heard and the mitigating circumstances of the case, and the fact that McArdle had made an attempt to stop his wife from falling, as a number of witnesses testified.
The jury accepted the fact that the accused had behaved in an inappropriate manner by arguing violently with his wife, but considered that he had not intended to kill her and had made an attempt to prevent her death.
However, they were equally convinced that she did not fall by tripping accidentally, as the defence had suggested.
He was allowed to return home to Dundalk after the verdict, pending the outcome of the appeals process.
However, in February 2010, with that process exhausted, the judge refused his request for the sentence to be suspended, and McArdle was ordered to return to Spain to serve his sentence.
In early March, he was given a deadline of 30 days to come up with the €220,000 compensation he owed the family and hand himself over to begin his prison sentence.
He reportedly told the court that he had not been able to pay the money, but that he intended to. He has also been ordered to pay all court costs with fees estimated to amount to €500,000 still outstanding. His lawyer, Luis Casaubon, and others from Ireland, appealed the decision on the basis that his client was being unfairly treated in comparison to other people who have been given similar sentences.
This meant that in April, the deadline was put on hold. On that occasion, he avoided court due to the travel chaos caused by the volcanic ash.
Finally, the Supreme Court in Granada rejected the appeal and ordered McArdle to return to Spain and present himself to the authorities before August 5.
He has no further options of appeal, and has failed to pay the compensation money.
During this whole process he remained in Ireland, where he has a new partner.