Ukrainian changes plea in body in suitcase trial

The trial of a Ukranian man accused of murdering a Romanian man and dumping his body in a suitcase in a Dublin canal came to an abrupt end today in the Central Criminal Court when the accused changed his plea.

The trial of a Ukranian man accused of murdering a Romanian man and dumping his body in a suitcase in a Dublin canal came to an abrupt end today in the Central Criminal Court when the accused changed his plea.

Igore Derjhack, aged 30, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the murder of Adrian Bestea, aged 21, and to assisting another man dispose of his body in Dublin's Royal Canal on July 9, 2001.

Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill told the murder trial jury that the Director of Public Prosecutions had accepted Derjhack's plea and dropped the murder charge against him.

He subsequently discharged the jury.

Derjhack further pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment and to assault causing harm to Mr Bestea in Dublin city on or about July 8, 2001.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions is no longer proceeding with the charge of murder against the accused," the judge said. "As a result, the accused is pleading guilty to the three remaining charges and there is no need for a trial."

When re-arraigned on the lesser charge Derjhack pleaded guilty to assisting a Nikolajs Lvovs, also known as Oleg, in disposing of Mr Bestea's body while knowing or believing Lvovs had murdered Mr Bestea, to impede his prosecution or apprehension.

The jury had heard that Derjhack and Lvovs had been contracted to beat Mr Bestea by his girlfriend, who herself was being beaten by Mr Bestea.

Last year, Mr Bestea's girlfriend, Marina Sourovtseva was jailed for two years for the false imprisonment and assault causing harm of Mr Bestea. Mr Justice O'Neill is expected to hear submissions on Derjhack's sentencing today.

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