Friday 20 September 2019

Melissa's killer had child by second girl

Fiach Kelly and Anita Guuidera

THE man jailed for life for killing 14-year-old Melissa Mahon fathered a child with a different underage girl.

Ronald Dunbar (44), also known as Ronnie McManus, has been questioned about the alleged child abuse by gardai.

The separate investigation had been put on hold while gardai pursued Dunbar for one of the most horrendous killings in recent years, but the case will now be stepped up, according to senior garda sources.

During Dunbar's five-week trial at the Central Criminal Court, his daughters gave evidence that he was in a sexual relationship with Melissa, and the schoolgirl's friends claimed she was pregnant by him.

In handing down the life sentence, Mr Justice Barry White said Dunbar -- who put Melissa's body in a sleeping bag before disposing of it in the River Bonnet -- dumped the schoolgirl's body "in a manner not befitting an animal".

In May, Dunbar was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by a Central Criminal Court jury.

It also emerged yesterday that the infant child Dunbar fathered was christened as its father stood trial for murder.

? Sexual abuse allegations regarding a second underage girl are also being investigated by gardai.

? Dunbar is at the centre of another, separate, sexual abuse complaint that has been made to police in the UK by a girl who was under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged incident.

? Melissa Mahon's family is considering legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) because Melissa was in its care when she disappeared in 2006.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice White said Dunbar was old enough to be Melissa’s father.

“You preyed on her vulnerability and her fragility and you took advantage of her,” he said.

Mr Justice White said Dunbar was entitled to his innocence over sexual relationship and pregnancy claims relating to him and Melissa because they could not be proved.

Bigamy

Dunbar has also previously been convicted of bigamy in the UK, when he was caught in two marriages at the one time – one to Lisa Conroy, the mother of his three children who testified against him in his murder trial, and the other to Angela Day – unbeknown to his family.

Ms Day and her daughter, Kirstey Dunbar, declined to comment yesterday.

Melissa's 19-year-old sister Leanna was the only member of the Mahon family in court yesterday to see Dunbar receive the life sentence, but she declined to make any comment.

Melissa disappeared from HSE residential care on September 14, 2006, and Dunbar's daughters gave evidence that they saw their father lying on his bed in his home at Rathbraughan Park, Sligo with his arm around Melissa’s neck before he put her body in a sleeping bag and dumped it in the River Bonnet in Sligo.

Melissa's skeletal remains were discovered in February 2008 downstream from the river, at the side of Lough Gill.

The HSE said a management review into Melissa's case – launched immediately after Dunbar's conviction on May 27 – was continuing. The HSE had been precluded from launching the review until legal proceedings were completed.

Melissa's mother, Mary Mahon, was too upset to travel to Dublin for the sentencing, but family friends said she was considering legal action against the State. Mrs Mahon is insisting she knew Dunbar had Melissa from day one and claims to have contacted gardai on a number of occasions.

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