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Thursday 22 March 2018

Manuela's parents shun controversy over foundation


The heartbroken parents of murdered Swiss teenager Manuela Riedo yesterday said victims of sexual assault would benefit for years to come from the foundation set up in their daughter's name.

Arlette and Hans-Peter Riedo, however, declined to comment on the controversy surrounding the resignation of the charity founder Brendan McGuinness, a Dublin native who owns a pub in Basel. The couple were instead keen to concentrate on projects planned by the foundation on a visit to Galway yesterday.

They said they still found it difficult to visit Galway, where their only child Manuela (17) was murdered in October 2007, but said it became easier as they built up new friendships.

"The first time we were here it was very difficult to go down to the crime scene. As we come back frequently, it gets easier each time.

"We now have so many friends in Galway it obviously helps us through the process," they said, through an interpreter.

Manuela's parents have visited Galway a couple of times since their daughter was murdered just days after she arrived in the city to study English.

Gerard Barry (30), who is originally from the Mervue area of Galway city, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering the teenager on dates between October 8 and 9 in 2007.

Manuela had only been a few days into her English-language holiday in Galway when she was attacked as she walked from her accommodation in Renmore to the city centre.

The recent resignation of Mr McGuinness, who had organised a fundraising event in Switzerland, followed disharmony with Manuela's parents.

Fiona Neary of the Rape Crisis Network said it was necessary to sort out issues surrounding funds raised in Switzerland.

"It is not appropriate at this time to have any discussion regarding ongoing matters in Basel, which we believe will be clarified.

"Nothing can happen to monies raised in Ireland until matters raised in Switzerland are sorted out.

"As matters continue to be clarified in Switzerland we are very confident that all of those funds will be distributed appropriately and that those matters will be clarified.

"Obviously, the Riedos are particularly interested in projects that support victims of sexual violence and projects around education and prevention to avoid crimes like this in the future," said Ms Neary.

Mr and Mrs Riedo walked on the promenade in Salthill prior to the press conference they held in Galway.

On the way back to their hotel they were greeted by a number of people who recognised the Swiss couple.

Sunday Independent

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