Jury retires in Swiss student murder trial

The jury at the trial of a Galway man accused of murdering Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo in October 2007 has been sent home for the night.

The jury at the trial of a Galway man accused of murdering Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo in October 2007 has been sent home for the night.

The body of Ms Riedo (aged 17) was found in an area of wasteland beside a pedestrian walkway known as 'The Line', close to the Lough Atalia area of Galway city.

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

Gerald Barry (aged 29), of Rosan Glas, Rahoon, Galway, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Manuela Riedo 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.

Today, the court heard evidence from defence witness Prof Jack Crane, State Pathologist for Northern Ireland.

The court previously heard evidence from State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy that an “unusual” injury was found on Manuela’s left groin where a piece of skin had been “removed using a sharp object, most likely a knife.”

Prof. Crane told Brendan Giblin SC, defending that he examined the post mortem photos of the injury to Manuela’s groin area and disagreed with Prof Cassidy about the possible source of the injury.

He said that the possibility that the injury was caused by a predatory animal after Manuela had died could not be excluded.

The jury then heard closing speeches from the prosecution and the defence.

Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the evidence in the case has to be looked at in the "context of the lies [Mr Barry] told gardaí".

She said that Mr Barry told gardaí that he was not in or around Galway city on the night of Manuela’s death but that evidence of telephone traffic related to Mr Barry’s phone showed that calls made from his mobile phone bounced off a mast in the Lough Atalia area on the night of the alleged murder.

Ms Kennedy also said that DNA evidence "places Mr Barry at the scene".

The court heard that Mr Barry’s DNA was found inside a condom that had been found at the scene of Manuela’s death.

Ms Kennedy said that the evidence is "consistent with guilt and is inconsistent with any other credible explanation other than guilt".

She said that Mr Barry "lied because he killed Ms Riedo and that he intended to kill her".

“The accused says in his evidence that it was all an accident, that he didn’t mean it, but I suggest to you that on the evidence of Professor Cassidy that Ms Riedo was held in an armlock from behind giving rise to neck compression and definite signs of asphyixiation.”

Mr Giblin told the jury that the evidence in the case "does not go so far as to say that Mr Barry intended to kill or cause serious harm to Ms Riedo".

He said that the proper verdict should be manslaughter.

“Mr Barry accepts that he is responsible for the death of Ms Riedo. The real issue is did he have intent at the time,” he said.

Mr Giblin said that what the evidence does show is that Mr Barry is "an extremely incompetent individual".

The court previously heard that Mr Barry stole Ms Riedo’s phone after she died and sold it to a friend.

Mr Giblin said that if Mr Barry "wanted to distance himself from Ms Riedo he would have disposed of her phone".

The jury will resume its deliberations tomorrow morning.

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