Convicted wife killer Dermot McArdle has married for a second time in a church wedding – yards from the grave where his first wife lies buried in her wedding dress.
he 53-year-old, who was convicted of the manslaughter of first wife, Kelly-Ann Corcoran, married long-term partner Claire Dollard in St Fursey’s Church in Dundalk, Co. Louth, on Friday.
The church is located next to the cemetery where Kelly-Ann lies at rest – under a headstone bearing the simple inscription ‘Kelly-Ann McArdle – died 14th February 2000 aged 29 years’.
Kelly-Ann fell to her death after being pushed by McArdle on the balcony of the couple’s fourth-floor hotel room in the upmarket Costa del Sol resort of Marbella on February 11, 2000.
Later on Friday, McArdle and new bride Claire held their wedding reception in the nearby Fairways Hotel – where less than two decades ago he held the funeral meal after Kelly-Ann’s burial.
A source – who was close to Kelly-Ann during her too short life – later blasted killer McArdle’s decision to hold the wedding in the church where Kelly-Ann’s funeral took place.
“If you divorce your wife, they won’t let you remarry in a Catholic church,” he said.
“But if you kill your wife, they will let you get married in a church that isn’t even 40 yards from the grave of the woman you killed.
“That isn’t right, and it’s worse than insulting to Kelly-Ann’s memory.
“Kelly-Ann wore her wedding dress in the coffin … did you know that?
“And this evening he [McArdle] is celebrating his second wedding in the same hotel where he had Kelly-Ann’s funeral meal.
“It’s disrespectful. Who would do that?”
Despite the proximity of his first wife’s grave, all thoughts of Kelly-Ann’s death seemed to have been put firmly behind McArdle on Friday as the beaming wife killer chatted happily with guests in the summer sunshine.
The former factory manager had retreated inside the cross-shaped stone church by the time bride Claire Dollard – who has been in a relationship with McArdle for more than a decade – arrived at the church shortly before 2.30pm in a vintage Bentley.
Dollard was pictured leaving the Fairways Hotel in a white wedding gown minutes earlier smiling delightedly as she stepped into the yellow wedding car.
The ceremony itself lasted approximately 45 minutes, but moments before the couple were due to leave the church a group of four young men approached a press photographer – who parked across the road from the church – and demanded he leave.
When the photographer informed the men he was entitled to park on the lay-by as it was a public place, the group became verbally abusive and physically threatening – with one even trying to enter the photographer’s vehicle.
In the face of mounting aggression, the photographer was forced to drive away – but not before he captured a picture of Ms Dollard grimacing at him as she left the church.
Another photographer parked further down the road, then drove by, capturing images of McArdle speaking with guests outside the church.
A short time later, images were also captured of killer McArdle and his new bride posing for pictures down by the coast in the seaside town.
Again, a press photographer was subjected to aggression and abuse by male members of the wedding party as he attempted to do his job.
McArdle is himself no stranger to hostility when it comes to the media.
He was previously convicted of assaulting photographer Jenny Matthews at Haynestown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, on January 9, 2010.
Ms Matthews was on an assignment waiting to get pictures of the defendant on that date.
The court heard how after McArdle spotted her taking pictures near his house, he grabbed her and forcibly took her camera.
During the struggle she had fallen on her knee and been struck by the camera to her face.
She claimed that after taking the camera, he had said: “You’re not so tough now without your camera”.
But it is McArdle’s conviction for killing wife Kelly-Ann that he became notorious.
He was convicted of her manslaughter in 2008 after a Spanish court found her fall from the couple’s fourth-floor balcony in Marbella had occurred as the result of a row.
The jury of nine voted by a majority of 7 to 2 to convict the then 39-year-old Dundalk father of causing the death of his wife Kelly-Ann Corcoran during a heated argument on the evening of February 11, 2000, the day the family arrived on holiday on the Costa del Sol.
The jury found that, as the argument escalated, McArdle pushed his wife on the balcony of their hotel room, causing her to fall over the rails.
In a very detailed statement, the jury foreman explained that on the basis of the evidence submitted, they believed that McArdle “did not set out deliberately to kill his wife” and therefore it could no convict him of her murder.
However, it also rejected as “highly implausible” his version that Kelly-Ann tripped and fell to her death in trying to prevent their son from leaning over the rail.
The jury was satisfied that the reconstruction of the fall by police and forensic experts had showed that she could not have fallen over the rail on her own as alleged by the defence.
Kelly Ann – who was kept on a life support machine for two days – was just 29 when she passed away on February 13, 2000.