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Sunday 21 September 2014

WHAT THE JURY DIDN'T HEAR, WHAT THE JURY DIDN'T SEE

Pensioner calls to Pearse Street garda station with €500 for grieving family

Published 03/08/2014 | 02:30

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PHONE records that led gardai to consider Alan Wilson a suspect for the murder of Marioara Rostas were withheld from his murder trial because of legal concerns that a recent complex EU court ruling might invalidate such evidence. The records were taken from the mobile phone detectives believe the destitute teenager used to call to her brother in Romania the day after she was abducted in Dublin city centre.

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Gardai identified the mobile phone after they got the phone records for Marioara's brother in Romania. Although it had no registered owner, the phone's call history showed that her brother and a relative of Alan Wilson's were called from the same phone.

This led gardai to consider him a suspect, but he was found not guilty. The case against him rested almost entirely on the uncorroborated evidence of another criminal who claimed he helped Wilson bury her body. She had been shot four times in the head. A pensioner donated €500 to her family at Pearse Street garda station last week, a reflection of the public sympathy her murder has evoked

Marioara, who spoke no English, was only 18 days in Ireland when she was abducted. Analysis of the phone's signal placed the mobile phone she later used to call her brother in the vicinity of Lombard Street at the time of her disappearance. The phone's signal "pinged" at a mast in Clontarf later that day. Gardai believe that Marioara was still in Clontarf the next day when she rang her brother, Alexandru, frightened and in tears.

The phone records were included in the book of evidence and were to be introduced as evidence before the jury at Wilson's murder trial. Eight expert witnesses were ready to testify. The evidence was never put forward. Sources said the decision followed concerns raised by a recent European Courts of Justice ruling that a directive allowing mobile and internet companies retain customer data for two years was invalid.

Sunday Independent

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