Phone engineer’s evidence links accused’s phone with murder site

Accused had said he did not leave Salthill area on night of murder

The trial of a Galway man accused of murdering Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo has heard that calls made from his mobile phone bounced off a mast in the Lough Atalia area on the night of her alleged murder.

The jury also heard that the accused man told gardai he did not go into Galway city on the night of the alleged murder.

Manuela’s body was found in an area of wasteland beside a pedestrian walkway known locally as ‘The Line’, close to Lough Atalia.

She had arrived in Galway, where she was studying English with fellow Swiss students, three days earlier.

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

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

Fergus O’Toole, a senior engineer at Meteor Mobile Communications, told Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, that he assisted gardai with the investigation into Manuela’s death, providing them with records of mobile phone traffic related to Mr Barry’s phone number on the night of the alleged murder.

The court heard that a text message sent from Mr Barry’s number was routed through a cell mast at Flannery’s Hotel in Renmore at 6.56p.m.

The court has previously heard that ‘The Line’ – adjacent to where Manuela’s body was found – is a shortcut between Renmore and Galway city.

A call made from Mr Barry’s phone number was routed through the same cell mast at Flannery’s Hotel three minutes later.

Another text message was sent from the phone number at 7.08pm, this time routed through a cell mast at Harris House, north of Flannery’s Hotel.

Four minutes later another text message was sent and routed through the mast at Flannery’s Hotel.

The court heard that the next two calls made from Mr Barry’s handset were routed through a mast at Lough Atalia.

One call bounced off the cell mast located south of Lough Atalia at 7.19pm.

The next call bounced off the same mast at 8.16pm.

Det Gda Michael Moran told the court that Mr Barry gave him a statement eight days after the alleged murder.

Mr Barry initially declined to give Det Gda Moran an account of his movements on the night but then agreed to make a statement in writing.

The court heard that he told Det Gda Moran he woke on October 8 at 3pm. and that his brother-in-law Dennis Ward and his brother Kevin Barry called over between 3pm and 4pm.

Mr Barry said that they drove around in Dennis’ car and went to Salthill between 4pm and 7pm., then went to Dennis’ house.

He said that he had a bite to eat and watched TV before Dennis drove him back to his house at Rosan Glas sometime after 10p.m.

Mr Barry told Det Gda Moran that he was not in or around Galway city that day or night. He said that he did not leave the Salthill area.

“Neither did I walk along the railway line to Renmore,” he said. “It’s three weeks since I used it to get to my mother’s house.”

He said that it was a few weeks since he walked in or out of the city along The Line and that he had “no contact whatsoever with the girl who was murdered.”

“I don’t even know the girl,” he said.

Kevin Barry, brother of the accused, told the court that he was at home during the afternoon of October 8.

He said that his brother-in-law, Dennis Ward, picked him up and that they drove around for a while during the early evening.

Dennis Ward told Mr McGinn that he was driving around with Kevin Barry that evening and that he received a call from the accused.

Mr Ward said that he picked up the accused outside Supermacs at the bottom of Shop St in Galway city centre at approximately 8p.m.

Mr McGinn asked if Mr Barry “appeared worried.”

Mr Ward said that he was “normal.”

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Mainguard St in the centre of Galway.

Gda Sean Durcan told Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that the footage showed a man walking from Mainguard St toward the junction of Cross St and Bridge St at 8.27pm. on the night of the alleged murder.

He said that the man was wearing a red jacket, a black cap, a black T-shirt and was carrying a plastic bag.

Earlier, Kevin Barry told the court that his brother, the accused man, was wearing a red jacket and carrying a plastic bag when he met him outside Supermac’s on the night of the alleged murder.

Det Sgt Tom Molloy told Ms Kennedy that Mr Barry was arrested ten days after the alleged murder and interviewed.

Det Sgt Molloy said that Mr Barry was shown a still photograph taken from the CCTV footage of Mainguard St.

When Mr Barry was asked if it was him in the photo, he replied: “No, no, he’s taller than me. I’ve never owned a red jacket or a baseball cap.”

The court also heard that a camera was found between the bed and the mattress during a search of Mr Barry’s home on October 18.

The camera was shown to Mr Barry during interviews. He said: “I never saw that camera in my life.”

The trial continues.


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