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Manuela killer had raped student just weeks before

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Gerald Barry is led away at the Central Criminal Court yesterday after being convicted of raping a French student

Gerald Barry is led away at the Central Criminal Court yesterday after being convicted of raping a French student

Gerald Barry is led away at the Central Criminal Court yesterday after being convicted of raping a French student

GARDAI questioned murderer Gerald Barry about the rape of another foreign student just weeks before he killed Swiss student Manuela Riedo.

Barry yesterday admitted two counts of raping the young French woman on August 16, 2007 -- just two months before 17-year-old Manuela was sexually assaulted and killed on a stretch of Galway wasteland.

Last night Manuela's mother, Arlette Riedo (50), said she hoped the conviction would mean Barry (29) would never be let out of prison again. She also hit out at the fact Barry was not in custody over the rape when he killed her daughter.

"I cannot understand why this man was free to walk the streets even though he was suspected of rape," said Mrs Riedo.

"It is my hope that this helps ensure he never gets out of prison. Young girls in Ireland can only be safe if this man is never set free."

Barry was the prime suspect for the rape of the Frenchwoman and was out on bail in connection with the breach of a protection order when he strangled Manuela on October 8, 2007.

Quizzed

Although quizzed by gardai shortly after the rape, officers were unable to gather enough evidence to charge him with the offence until seven months after he murdered Manuela.

However, the earlier investigation provided them with key clues, including Barry's DNA profile, which helped them solve Manuela's murder swiftly.

Barry hadn't been due to go on trial for the rape charges until June 22. However, he was yesterday brought from Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon to the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cloverhill after indicating he would be pleading guilty.

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Barry, with addresses in Mervue and Rahoon in Galway city, pleaded guilty to separate counts of oral and anal rape of the then 21-year-old French woman at a GAA pitch on Walter Macken Road in Mervue.

Throughout the brief court appearance, Barry stood impassively before Mr Justice Paul Carney with his hands behind his back.

Stooped

With his head slightly stooped, he wore a nondescript grey top and grey trousers and sported an unkempt beard.

When asked how he pleaded to the two rape charges, he answered "guilty" in a barely audible voice.

Prosecution lawyers told the court a victim impact statement would take several weeks to prepare.

Mr Justice Carney certified Barry a sex offender and put him on the register of sex offenders.

The judge adjourned sentencing until July 20. Barry already had a life sentence handed to him earlier this year when Mr Justice Barry White jailed him for Manuela's murder.

A jury took just two hours and 38 minutes to find him guilty following a seven-day trial last March.

Barry strangled Manuela on a pedestrian walkway known as The Line, close to the Lough Atalia area of Galway city. Manuela had arrived in Ireland only three days prior to that to study English at a language school.

A post-mortem examination found that she died from asphyxia and had head injuries.

Barry also stole her mobile phone and camera and received two sentences of five years for stealing both items.

Despite significant DNA and other evidence against him, Barry continually lied to gardai, claiming he had killed Manuela accidentally.

Manuela's heartbroken parents, Hans-Peter (53) and Arlette, described Barry as "the devil" after sitting through the trial and hearing his denials of the crime.

The couple, from Hinterkappelen in Switzerland, have since set up a foundation in honour of their only child which aims to raise awareness among teenagers and children of the dangers of sexual predators.

The foundation is also campaigning for the tightening up of bail laws in Ireland.

C case man guilty of raping 86-year-old, page 28. editorial comment, page 30


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