Four men jailed in relation to mother-of-two’s death

FOUR men have been given the maximum sentence of 10 years for disposing of and attempting to destroy the body of a mother-of-two beaten to death in Wexford last year.

Three of them had part of their sentences suspended provided they return to their native Lithuania and Poland when released from jail. The fourth man, who is Irish, also had part of his sentence suspended at the Central Criminal Court.

Rebecca French was found dead in the boot of her burning car on October 9, 2009, on the outskirts of Wexford town. The state believes the 30-year-old was beaten to death beforehand in the house of one of the defendants at Ard Na Dara, Clonard.

Mr Justice Barry White said one or more of the four men were responsible for “brutally and savagely” killing her but enjoyed a presumption of innocence for this. All four had pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation and he said the maximum sentence he could impose was not half long enough.

The Lithuanian defendants, Ricardas Dilys, aged 28, and Ruslanas Mineikas, aged 26, of Goodtide Harbour and formerly of Davitt Road South, both in Wexford town, were last month on trial for her murder, pleading not guilty.

The murder charges were dropped when a legal technicality meant their admissions in garda custody could not be used against them and they pleaded guilty to the lesser crime. Gardaí then said they would not be looking for anyone else in connection with what they believed was a murder.

The other men, Patrick O’Connor, aged 41, of Ard Na Dara, Clonard, Wexford and 27-year-old Polish man Piotr Pasiak of Lower John Street, Wexford had already pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation and were never on trial for murder.

It emerged yesterday that two of the men had offered pleas to manslaughter during their Garda interviews, but these were not accepted by the DPP.

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