Saturday 25 November 2017

Family hit out at lack of justice for mum

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE family of a young mother whose body was found in the boot of a burning car yesterday criticised the failure of the authorities to prosecute anyone for her killing.

The relatives of the late Rebecca French told the Central Criminal Court that "justice in Ireland was asleep while its people are dying".

The family of the 30-year-old mother of two from Wexford also called on the Government to ban entry to Ireland of any foreign national with a criminal record in their home country.

In an emotional victim impact statement, Ms French's sister, Rachel, criticised the legal system after statements made in garda custody by two men originally charged with her murder were ruled inadmissible at their trial last month.

The victim impact statement was read out at the sentence hearing of four men charged with disposing of and attempting to destroy Ms French's body.

Murder charges against Lithuanian men Ricardas Dilys (28) and Ruslanas Mineikas (26) were withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last month owing to technical difficulties with the men's detention, which meant that their admissions in garda custody could not be used against them.

They now face up to 10 years in prison for disposing of and attempting to destroy the body after separate offers by the men to plead guilty to manslaughter were, it emerged yesterday, rejected by the DPP.

Two other men, Patrick O'Connor (41), from Ard Na dara, Co Wexford, and 27-year-old Polish man Piotr Pasiak, had already pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation and also face a maximum 10-year sentence.



Sentenced

All four men will be sentenced by Mr Justice Barry White this morning.

The badly beaten body of Ms French was found in the boot of her car at Codd's Lane outside of Wexford town on October 9, 2009. A partially melted blue plastic bag was found around her neck and her hands and feet were bound by cable ties.

She died of blunt-force trauma to the head and before the car fire was started, it is believed.

The abdomen and ribs of the former care assistant were damaged and her hands and arms were marked with defence-style injuries.

The four defendants were found walking nearby and it was the prosecution's case that Ms French was beaten to death with golf clubs, punched, kicked and stamped on in O'Connor's house in the previous hours.

Yesterday, Rachel French, who is now the guardian of Ms French's two daughters, told Mr Justice White that the French family wanted the people of Ireland to know that "justice for our beautiful girl" had not been achieved.

"To us, everyone in that house is a murderer, no exceptions," said Ms French. "To have all the statements detailing Rebecca's horrific death to hand and not being able to use it.

"The gardai in Wexford, having done such a fantastic job catching these animals, had all their work thrown back in their faces. Our country needs to put in place a straightforward system written by people who actually have to deal with these inhuman kind of people and not by someone who sits in an office outside the realms of reality.

"People with criminal records in their own country should never be allowed to live among us. God's law is an eye for an eye," remarked Ms French, who broke down in tears in the witness box.

"To know the details of your daughter's, sister's last minutes, knowing they must have been one of pure hell, that she was leaving behind the two most beautiful little girls whom she loved with all her heart and who some of these excuses of humanity actually met will never leave our hearts or minds," she continued.

Irish Independent

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