A GALWAY man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Swiss teenager, Manuela Riedo, who was studying in Galway, in October 2007. Gerald Barry (29) had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Manuela Riedo, on 8th October, 2007 but pleaded guilty to stealing a camera and a mobile phone at the same place on the same date.
The jury took just over two hours to reach the verdict. Mr Barry, who has a number of previous convictions for sex assault and violent assault, was also given two five year sentences for the theft of a phone and camera beloning to Ms Riedo.
Mr Barry had originally told gardaí that he had not been anywhere near the area where Ms Riedo’s body was discovered. He claimed that he spent the evening with his brother-in-law, Denis Ward, despite DNA matching his own having been found close to her body.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Ms Riedo had been assaulted, and possibly lost consciousness due to asphyxia. The court also heard that her coat covered part of her body when she was found but that other clothing and a bag both belonging to the victim were found in the area.
State pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, said that Ms Riedo had suffered head injuries which may have been inflicted while she lay on the ground. Prof. Cassidy stated there was also an unusual injury of a piece of skin removed from Ms Riedo’s groin, which had probably been done using a knife after death.
She described a bump and laceration found on the back of Ms Riedo’s head, saying that her partially covered body was naked from the waist down upon discovery. Marks on Ms Riedo’s neck indicate she suffered compression due to contact. Prof. Cassidy said it could be that this pressing into her neck eventually led to her death.
A friend of Ms Riedo, Azeria Maurer, said that she and the deceased met with friends in the afternoon of 8th October in the King’s Head pub, where they had also been the night before. The court heard that on neither occasion did Ms Riedo speak to anyone who was not a fellow student and that she had not taken any alcohol on the afternoon of her murder.
Having arranged to meet the group again that night in the King’s Head, Ms Maurer and Ms Riedo returned to their respective host families in the evening. When Ms Riedo did not show up at the pub later that night, Ms Maurer sent her a text but received no answer.
Ms Riedo was studying English in Galway with a group of Swiss students. She had arrived in Galway on 5th October 2007, three days before her death. Her body was found in an area of wasteland beside a pedestrian walkway.