Court hears Manuela’s injuries were ‘suggestive of strangulation’

Gerald Barry pictured at the Central Criminal Court this week. Photo: Courtpix:

Gerald Barry pictured at the Central Criminal Court this week. Photo: Courtpix:

A jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard that Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo died from strangulation.

Ms Riedo had arrived in Galway three days before her body was found in an area of wasteland beside The Line in Renmore.

She was studying English with fellow students from Switzerland.

State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy told the jury that Manuela also had head injuries which may have been inflicted while she was lying on the ground.

She also said that there was also an “unusual” injury to Manuela’s left groin where a piece of skin had been “removed using a sharp object, most likely a knife”.

Gerald Barry (28 ), of Rosán Glas, Rahoon, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Manuela Riedo (17 ) at Lough Atalia, Renmore, Galway, on October 8 2007.

He has pleaded guilty to stealing a camera and a mobile phone at the same place on the same date.

Prof Cassidy told Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that Manuela’s body was found in an area of wasteland beside a pedestrian walkway known locally as The Line.

She was naked from the waist down, partially covered by her coat, which was secured by a rock.

Prof Cassidy told the court that Manuela’s neck was “compressed due to contact”.

She said that Manuela could have been “grabbed” with an arm-lock from behind or a forearm could have been pressed into her neck from the front.

“Death could have been due to asphyxia as a consequence of neck compression,” she said.

The marks on Manuela’s neck were “suggestive of strangulation”.

Prof Cassidy also described a “gaping wound” to Manuela’s left groin. She said that this “unusual” injury was “undoubtedly caused after death”.

“The skin was removed using a sharp object, most likely a knife,” she said.

She added that the injury was not caused by an animal.

Prof Cassidy told the court that there was a bump and laceration on the back of Manuela’s head, suggestive of her head being struck or striking against a surface.

She said that this head injury “most likely happened while Manuela was on the ground, the head most likely striking a rough, irregular, stone while lying down.”

Prof Cassidy said that injuries to Manuela’s face could have been due to minor blows to the head.

There was no evidence that she struggled, she said.

Prof Cassidy added that Manuela’s assailant could have been “stronger... controlling her in an arm-lock, or that she had suffered concussion earlier in the attack”.

She also said that there were superficial lacerations, small tears, and an abrasion around the groin area and that there was no evidence of any internal injuries.

Azaria Maurer, a friend of Manuela, told Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, that she was part of the group of Swiss students who arrived in Galway in October 2007 to study English.

Manuela and Azaria were staying with separate host families in Renmore.

Ms Maurer told the court that she and Manuela walked into Galway city on Monday afternoon.

She said that they walked back to Renmore later that evening along The Line.

“Somebody in the school said it was a shortcut,” she said.

Ms Maurer met Manuela again that night and they went to the King’s Head pub.

She said that Manuela did not speak to anybody apart from her fellow students.

Ms Maurer said that she met Manuela once again on Monday morning. They walked along The Line to language school and that afternoon went to the King’s Head and met their friends.

She said that none of the students spoke to anybody outside their group and that Manuela did not drink any alcohol.

They walked back to Renmore that evening and went to their host families, after arranging to meet again that night in the King’s Head.

The court heard that was the last time Ms Maurer saw Manuela.

Ms Maurer went to the King’s Head that night. Some of her friends were there but Manuela was absent.

She sent a text to Manuela at approximately 9pm but got no reply.

The next morning, she tried to phone Manuela but a message told her that the number was not in use.

Ms Maurer also told the court that Manuela had a boyfriend in Switzerland. She said that the screensaver on Manuela’s mobile phone was a picture of her boyfriend.

Martin Tierney, father of the house where Manuela was staying, told the court that Manuela showed him a map of Galway on the Monday evening before her alleged murder.

Mr Tierney said that he “advised her against walking into town by the railway”.

Det Gda Shane Curran told the court that he attended the crime scene on October 9.

He noticed a “used condom snagged on a bush”.

He also noticed that one of the buttons was missing from Manuela’s coat, which was draped over the upper half of her body.

Det Gda Curran said that he found a black button on the pathway above where Manuela was found.

Det Gda Curran also searched an apartment at Rosán Glas, Rahoon, on October 18.

He found a camera in the bedroom between the mattress and the bed.

He gave the camera to Det Gda Liam Lynham.

Earlier, Det Gda Lynham told the court that he printed three photos from the camera’s memory card.

Ms Maurer was shown those three photos.

She told the court that they had been taken on Manuela’s phone.

The trial continues.

 

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