Riedo killer's rape victim 'surprised to be alive'

The Galway man who murdered Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo has been remanded in custody pending sentence for raping a young French woman at knife point in 2007.

The Galway man who murdered Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo has been remanded in custody pending sentence for raping a young French woman at knife point in 2007.

Gerald Barry (aged 29), of Rosan Glas, Rahoon pleaded guilty to raping the then 21-year-old woman near a GAA pitch in Galway city on August 16, 2007. A charge of theft in relation to the victim's personal belongings was taken into account.

The incident occurred less than two months before he stalked and murdered the Swiss teenager.

Barry is serving a life sentence imposed on him in March by Mr Justice Barry White following his conviction by a jury of murdering Ms Riedo. They took two hours and 38 minutes to find him guilty following a seven-day trial.

Mr Justice Paul Carney adjourned sentencing to later this week at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway.

Detective Inspector Gerard Roche told Mr Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that Barry twice forced the woman to perform oral sex on him and raped her three times.

At one stage in the attack, Barry made "a deal" with the victim that if she gave him oral sex one more time he would let her go but afterwards he refused to do so and instead raped her twice more.

After the final rape Barry noticed that the woman was cut and said: "Hey you are bleeding, great."

Det Insp Roche said Barry threatened the woman at all times that he would kill her.

The day after the attack she attended her local hospital and was so traumatised she could not recount to staff what had happened. She had to write down "I was raped" on a piece of paper.

She was initially too terrified to report the rape to the gardaí because Barry had threatened to kill her if she did but she eventually made a full statement.

Det Insp Roche read from the victim impact report in which the student described Barry as "a predator".

"He is not a human or a man. He is a liar, a rapist and a murderer. I beg you not to let him out because he will do it again," Det Insp Roche read.

"I am surprised that I am still alive. Why was I let go? Why I am still breathing?" the woman told gardaí.

She described Barry as perpetrating "disgusting, bad actions on other people" and asked "how can he sleep at night, be living, breathing, walking, laughing, and listening to music?"

Det Insp Roche told Mr Burns that after raping the student Barry assaulted his ex-partner at her home. She was later able to give gardaí a description of what he was wearing that night, which matched that detailed by the victim and led to Barry's arrest on August 18, 2007.

Barry refused to participate in an identity parade that day and refused to give a blood sample but allowed gardaí to take a DNA sample from his mouth.

The following day he appeared at the District Court in relation to the attack on his partner. Det Insp Roche said there was a garda objection to bail but it was granted.

Gardaí were still investigating the rape of the French student when Barry murdered Ms Riedo.

He was later charged in relation to this rape after his DNA profile matched semen found on the victim's clothing.

Det Insp Roche said Barry had a number of previous convictions apart from the murder of Ms Riedo, which included a five-year sentence for violent disorder during which a young Galway man was killed, and a serious assault on an elderly man that left him blind.

He had been placed on the sex offenders register in 2006 after he was jailed for six months in relation to a sexual assault.

Mr Martin Giblin SC, defending, asked Mr Justice Carney to accept that it was not an appropriate case for a life sentence considering Barry's degree of co-operation with the gardaí, the fact that he gave a DNA sample and his plea of guilty.

"He deeply regrets what he has done. He has now had time to reflect on his actions and the impact he has had on his victims," Mr Giblin said before he added that both drug and alcohol abuse had played a significant role in his client's criminal background.

Evidence from the Manuelo Riedo court case:

Barry strangled Manuelo Riedo after having sex with her on a pedestrian walkway known as "The Line", close to the Lough Atalia area of Galway city on October 8, 2007.

Ms Riedo, who had only arrived in Ireland three days prior to that to study English at a language school in the city died from asphxia and had a number of injuries to her head.

The jury of six men and six women took just two hours and 38 minutes to find him guilty of murdering her and also of stealing her camera and a mobile phone.

Mr Justice White also imposed two sentences of five years each for the theft charges concurrent with his life sentence on Barry who was described by Manuela's parents Hans Peter (53) and Arlette (50) as the "devil".

They expressed a desire that Barry would spend the rest of his life behind bars and thanked the Irish people for their support and for those who had sent flowers and cards to them along with the Gardaí and staff at the Swiss embassy.

Detective Superintendent PJ Durkin told the court on that occasion that Barry had been in "trouble with the law" from an early age and had a long list of convictions.

They included five years for violent assault in connection with the murder of Tipperary man Colm Phelan in Eyre Square, Galway in July 1996; two years for another vicious assault which completely blinded an elderly man who was living at home; and a sexual assault conviction arising out of a complaint by Barry's ex-partner.

In an emotional victim impact statement read out in court following Barry's conviction for murder and theft, Mr Riedo said their only child's death had "taken the future away from us".

"I will never lead my daughter as a bride to the altar, and my wife will never knit baby clothes for a grandchild, and we won't have anyone to look after us when we are old," he said.

Mr Riedo recalled how Manuela's trip to a language school in Ireland was her first trip without her parents abroad.

"We had heard only good things about Ireland and thus we had no misgivings about sending her to this beautiful country," he said.

Mr Justice White told Barry when sentencing him that he agreed completely with the jury's vderdict.

"I trust you have not been unmoved by the evidence of Mr Riedo of the devastating effect of your criminal behaviour on the family of your victim," he said.

Barry claimed in evidence in his murder trial that he had met the teenager on the evening of her death which he said was an accident and that he hadn't meant to cause her any harm. He admitted stealing her phone and camera.

Barry had consistently lied to gardaí about his whereabouts on the evening he murdered the girl, but calls he made from a mobile phone placed him at the scene.

Mr Fergus O'Toole, a senior engineer at Meteor Mobile Communications, told prosecuting counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL, that a text message sent from Barry's number was routed through a cell mast at Flannery's Hotel in Renmore at 6.56pm.

A call made from his phone number was also routed through the same cell mast three minutes later.

A further 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 and four minutes later another text message was sent and routed through the mast at Flannery's Hotel.

Mr O'Toole said that the next two calls made from Barry's phone were routed through a mast at Lough Atalia. One call bounced off the cell mast located south of Lough Atalia at 7.19pm and the next call bounced off the same mast at 8.16pm.

Det Garda Michael Moran said Barry initially declined to give him an account of his movements on the night but then agreed to make a statement in writing eight days after the murder.

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