Saturday 25 November 2017

Victim's family make an impact in court

Rebecca's relatives weren't the first to take advantage of court privilege -- and probably won't be the last, writes Maeve Sheehan

SHE was 30 when she died but Rebecca French was the baby in her family, the youngest by nine years and the one her older siblings turned to for cheering up. Her life was as a single mother of two little girls. She also had a social life that involved going out once a week or a fortnight.

When she died on October 9 last year, she got caught up in a drinking session on a fairly well-to-do housing estate in Wexford town. The house was owned by Patrick O'Connor, the son of a local developer, and it had a reputation for attracting a mixed bag of nocturnal strays. That particular drinking session ended with Rebecca's death, as a result of three hard blows to the head that fractured her skull. Someone put a plastic bag over her head and tied it with a cable, possibly to contain the blood. Her body was callously dumped in her car, which was set ablaze by drunks.

Her family was led to believe that their sister's murder was an "open-and-shut" case. The prime suspects emerged quickly; two Lithuanian men, Ricardas Dilys, 28, and Ruslanas Mineikas, 26, who had been drinking at the house were charged with her murder. Dilys was said by the prosecution to have struck her with golf clubs while Mineikas stamped and kicked her, breaking her ribs.

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