A Ukrainian man has been jailed for three years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for his role in what became known as 'the body in the suitcase' crime.
Dmytro Semenyuk, (aged 26), also known as Valintins Korelovs, with addresses at Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1 and Tritonville Road, Sandymount pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Adrian Bestea and assault causing him harm at Strand Road, Sandymount on July 8, 2001.
Judge Yvonne Murphy said while Semenyuk did not participate in the events which led to the "sad and brutal" death of Mr Bestea, he had joined in an earlier assault and did not seek help for the deceased man after he had left he flat.
Detective Sergeant Walt O'Sullivan told prosecuting counsel, Mr Micheal Durack SC (with Mr Des Zaidan BL) that Semenyuk was part of a group of three men enlisted by Mr Bestea's girlfriend Marina Sourovtzeva, to help her evict him from her flat.
Sourovtzeva, (aged 31), of Strand Road, Sandymount was jailed for two years last July by Judge Murphy after she pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning the victim and assault causing him harm on the same occasion.
Judge Murphy said that Sourovtzeva had been subject to many assaults by Mr Bestea and had fled from her flat that day in her nightclothes and slippers after yet another assault.
Semenyuk had not known either Mr Bestea or Sourovtzeva and had got a lift in a taxi with the group going "to teach Mr Bestea a lesson" as he lived in the same area. Instead of going home, he went to Mr Bestea's flat and participated in the assault on him.
Judge Murphy noted Semenyuk had no previous criminal record, had worked hard and paid his taxes while in Ireland and would have to serve his sentence in a foreign jurisdiction with the ensuing language difficulties.
She backdated his sentence to September 2001 when he was taken into custody for this offence.
Defence counsel, Mr Anthony Sammon SC (with Mr Luan O Branaoin BL), said Semenyuk had already served 18 months in a remand prison.
This was a particularly difficult situation for the defendant due to language barriers and the fact that other prisoners who are placed there are very unsettled and have drug problems.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan said that earlier on July 8, Bestea had assaulted Sourovtzeva several times after she had told him she was going into town to meet her friends. She ran out of her flat around 4pm in her nightclothes and got a taxi into town.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan said Sourovtzeva was "hurt, bleeding and embarrassed". She met her friends and told them what had happened. One of her friends, a Ukrainian woman knew people who would help Sourovtzeva eject Mr Bestea from her flat.
They met three men on O'Connell St, a Ukrainian, a Latvian, and a Siberian Russian who had previously known Sourovtzeva. The defendant, Semenyuk, knew one of these men and came across them on O'Connell St.
As he was living in Sandymount at the time, Semenyuk went with Sourovtzeva and the Ukrainian and Latvian man to her flat. She rang the doorbell while the men hid behind a wall and they then followed her upstairs.
The three men burst into the flat and pinned Mr Bestea on a bed while they punched him in the face, head and body. Det Sgt O'Sullivan said Semenyuk had told the gardai he was holding Mr Bestea down and only punched him once.
This assault lasted for 10 to 15 minutes after which Mr Besteea was allowed stand up and sit in an armchair. Semenyuk was given Mr Bestea's wallet and bank card and told to go buy a bottle of vodka.
He tried to withdraw €20 from Mr Bestea's account but there was no money in it so he bought a bottle of vodka with money given to him by Sourovtzeva. Semenyuk then went to his own flat and took his own girlfriend and the vodka to the flat on Strand Rd.
Semenyuk and his girlfriend stayed there for another half hour, during which time Mr Bestea was assaulted again.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan said Mr Bestea was never hit with a weapon while Semenyuk was there, just fists. He added that Semenyuk's girlfriend had said when they left, Mr Bestea was asleep in the armchair but was still alive.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan said Mr Bestea was dead when Sourovtzeva returned to the flat at 12.45am after going out to buy cigarettes. The cause of death was multiple blows to the back of the head with a blunt object which he believed to be a tyre iron.
This tyre iron was found in the flat during the garda investigation after Mr Bestea's body was recovered in a suitcase from the Royal Canal on July 20, 2001. The Latvian man returned to Latvia on July 10, 2001 but the Ukrainian man is still awaiting trial for murder, assault and false imprisonment.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan told Mr O Braonain that Semenyuk had given a different name to gardai and had been working in construction in Ireland under that name since he arrived here in December 2000.
He agreed it was common for people of Semenyuk's background to adopt false names and that Mr Bestea and Sourovtzeva also had used false names.
He said Semenyuk had no criminal record and had worked all his life. The rest of his family, including his wife and eight-year-old child were still living in Ukraine.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan added that Semenyuk's only appeared to have come to Ireland for economic reasons and not for any "sinister reasons". He had worked in Italy the summer before he came to Ireland.