Contract 'beating' went too far, court hears

A man whose bloodied body was found dumped in a suitcase in a Dublin canal was murdered in a contract "beating" that went too far, a murder trial jury at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

A man whose bloodied body was found dumped in a suitcase in a Dublin canal was murdered in a contract "beating" that went too far, a murder trial jury at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Ukranian Igore Derjhack, 30, of Mountjoy Square in Dublin has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Romanian national Adrian Bestea between July 8 and 21, 2001.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Patrick Gageby SC, told the court Mr Bestia's girlfriend had arranged for three men, one of whom was Mr Derjhack, to "rough him up" because he was beating her and she wanted him to leave her flat in Sandymount.

The trial heard the girlfriend, Marina Tsouretseva, met the men on July 8 after she left the flat following an argument in which Mr Bestea, 21, had bashed her again.

Later that day at the flat, Mr Derjhack and a man named Oleg who was armed with a wheel-brace, punched Mr Bestia then put him in a chair and tied him up, he said.

The third man, known as Valentin, was sent out to buy drinks, the court heard.

The pair were "inclined to offer at that stage to kill Mr Bestea and possibly a figure of 2000 dollars was offered," Mr Gageby said.

He said Ms Tsouretseva declined the offer, and left Igore and Oleg in the flat while she went to buy some cigarettes.

"When she came back, she will say, Mr Bestia was wrapped in bloody sheets and for practical purposes there was no life in him," he said.

Mr Gageby said she then heard Mr Derjhack say, "We finished him".

He said they decided to put Mr Bestea's body in a suitcase and took it on a bus to Drumcondra where it was thrown into the Royal Canal.

"Later that day Marina met Igore and Oleg in a pub in town, Sinnott's, and Igore was looking for money for what he had done," he said.

The court heard Mr Bestea was an illegal immigrant who had entered Ireland "via the back door".

He had failed to hold down several jobs because he often did not turn up to work and was a "violent man, inclined to hit his girlfriend".

Youths found a suitcase in the canal containing his bruised and bloodied body on July 20.

Gardaí extracted it from the canal and a postmortem found he had been killed by up to 10 blows to the back and side of the head.

The court heard from gardaí that the body was in the foetal position inside the case and there appeared to be some twine around the lower part of it.

Mr Derjhack has also pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment and assault causing harm of Mr Bestea.

Ms Tsouretseva, who the court heard has pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment and assault causing harm of her boyfriend, is expected to give evidence tomorrow.

The court heard she was also an illegal immigrant who had established several identities to claim welfare and avoid deportation.

Mr Higgins told jurors many of the witnesses in the case would come from Eastern European countries that were "behind the Iron Curtain" until 10 or 20 years ago.

The trial before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill and the jury of seven men and five women continues tomorrow.

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