The wife of a convicted chainsaw killer said he speaks to her from his Dutch prison cell “10 times a day”, as she maintains that her “kind and caring husband” is innocent.
In her first interview since Barry McArdle, 34, was extradited to a prison in Holland, wife Victoria said she has been to visit him several times this year, with each visit lasting two to three hours.
Her husband is serving the remainder of a 13-year manslaughter sentence in Zaanstad Judicial Complex, a relatively open prison, for the horrific killing of Irishman Keith Ennis.
Tragic Keith, 29, was brutally stabbed to death before his body was dismembered with a chainsaw and disposed of in a canal on the outskirts of Amsterdam in February 2009.
But Victoria, from County Galway, told DublinLive she is convinced her husband was “framed” and that he is being wrongfully detained.
She believes he may soon be granted a retrial through the European Court of Human Rights.
“He’s a kind, caring husband. He’s a jolly person. If you don’t know him don’t judge him,” Victoria said.
Victoria, who showed The Star pictures of herself arm-in-arm with her husband at the Dutch prison earlier this year, described how she is able to hear from her husband up to 10 times a day as he has a phone in his cell.
She also said the prison he is staying at is “brilliant” and that she “couldn’t say enough about them” .
“He has a cell, he has a fridge, microwave, his own shower, his own telephone in the room,” she said.
McArdle was originally sentenced to two years imprisonment for disposing of the body and acquitted of stabbing Mr Ennis in the same 2017 trial.
However, Dutch authorities successfully appealed McArdle’s acquittal on the charge of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment in his absence by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal on May 17, 2018.
In November of last year McArdle handed himself over, and he is now serving his sentence as he awaits his case in the European Courts.
The appeal of another Dubliner, Philip County — who was sentenced to 21 months for helping to dispose of the body — was also thrown out.
County, who claimed to cops that McArdle and another man, Kenneth Brunell, helped him dismember Mr Ennis’ corpse, is currently serving a two-and-a-half year sentence in an Irish prison after more than €7,000 of cocaine and MDMA was found at his property.
When he has finished his two-and-a-half year sentence imposed in October, he is expected to be handed over to Dutch authorities to serve out a further eight months in prison for his role in dismembering Mr Ennis.
County previously told a court that Keith Ennis was murdered in an apartment in Rotterdam, where the victim had gone to socialise with him, McArdle and Brunell.
He also claimed to police that he stepped out to get liquor and, when he came back, he found Ennis had been stabbed to death by his pals in a row over a PlayStation game.
But Victoria claimed all of County’s statements aren’t true and cannot be relied upon as evidence to convict her husband.
Similarly she said her husband’s DNA, which was found on a chainsaw used to dismember Mr Ennis, also cannot be relied upon.
“My husband was solely convicted on Philly County’s statement. That’s the only evidence against my husband,” she said.
Victoria said her husband went to Holland to visit County, who she said was a “gym friend”, and claims he “never met Keith Ennis”.
“He’s kind, he’s caring, he’s a great father. A great husband, a great son,” she said.
She believes County, who admitted dismembering Keith Ennis’s remains, has many questions to answer, and she believes he “framed” her husband.
Victoria, who may not see McArdle freed for another five years unless his conviction is overturned, went on to say she has sympathy for the family of Mr Ennis and wants justice for them.
“I’d have sympathy for any family that went through that. I’ve kids myself.
“This case needs to be reopened and the real person that killed him needs to be behind bars,” she said.