'Thank you' - the words an emotional Gail O'Rorke whispered as she was acquitted
Published 28/04/2015 | 17:33
It was a dam burst of pent-up emotion.
For seven gruelling days, Gail O'Rorke had fought bravely to remain resolutely composed in Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court.
Her face seemed to cloak a myriad of emotions, especially as the final moments of her court ordeal came to its dramatic conclusion.
When the jury departed shortly after 10.30am this morning to continue their deliberations, the residual tension, and sense of expectation in the courtroom, was palpable.
The wait seemed interminable as one hour blended into another.
And then, shortly after 3pm, the jury returned.
They had been considering their verdict for just under seven hours.
The 43-year-old visibly shook as she sat in the dock, her head resting on clenched fists.
As she stared into the distance, lost in her own thoughts, she dabbed her eyes with a white handkerchief.
The floral designs on her black dress provided a tinge of colour in contrast to her drawn and bleak complexion.
She threw her family a worrying glance, steeling herself for the judgement to come.
But as the words 'Not Guilty' punctured the silence in Court 17, the veneer of restraint collapsed.
She could no longer conceal the torrent of emotions which had engulfed her all week - and seemed to visibly slump with the sheer relief of it all.
The full realisation that her legal ordeal was over brought its own release.
Her eyes welled up as she hugged her husband, Barry, who also broke down in tears.
She then sat back down and could be seen whispering the words 'Thank you' at the jury as they left.
Flanked by family and friends, she walked purposefully from court a free woman.
Afterwards, she said the experience has left her drained and exhausted.
"The last four years and in particular the last three years have been very difficult for my family and me," she said.
"The family of my dear late friend, Bernadette Forde, have had to endure intrusions into her privacy which she always guarded so carefully.
"The trial has now concluded with the hoped for verdict," she added.
And in a statement, issued by her legal team to the media, she also thanked her family and friends for their "incredible support", especially during the past three weeks.
The experience had been "gruelling" for all concerned, she said.
Mrs O’Rorke also stressed she will not be making any further comment.
She asked that her privacy be respected.