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Murdered teen's mum – Manuela spirit is still alive

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Arlette Riedo, mother of Swiss student Manuela. Photo: Courtpix

Arlette Riedo, mother of Swiss student Manuela. Photo: Courtpix

Arlette Riedo, mother of Swiss student Manuela. Photo: Courtpix

THE mother of murdered Swiss teen Manuela Riedo believes her daughter's spirit lives on in Galway.

Arlette Riedo said that her family are grateful that she is constantly remembered in Ireland.

In October 2007, Swiss student Manuela (17) was murdered by Gerald Barry at an isolated spot in Galway just two days after she arrived in Ireland to study English.

Her parents Hans Peter and Arlette have returned to the city each year to mark their daughter's anniversary.

However, Mrs Riedo said that she and her husband could never forgive Barry who was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

DIFFICULT

"We cannot talk about him. It is particularly difficult for Hans Peter," she said. "We will never forgive him for taking Manuela. We hope he spends a very, very long time in prison."

Barry is currently serving a life sentence for Manuela's murder and two further life terms for the repeated rape of a young French student, also in 2007.

As a new documentary on Manuela's murder airs tonight, her mother urged the public not to think of the manner of her death but of the way her legacy has helped others.

"When people think of Manuela they think of this terrible crime but they must also learn to think about the foundation (the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland raises funds for awareness and prevention of sexual crime in Ireland) and how they might help the foundation help others," she said.

"We can only hope that Manuela's memory and legacy continues so strongly to burn in the hearts of Ireland and Galway."

Speaking from her home near Bern in Switzerland, Mrs Riedo revealed how the foundation set up in Manuela's memory has helped them cope.

"We told everybody including Manuela's friends at her funeral that they have to move on, live their lives. When you lose an only child like we lost Manuela it is very hard for anybody to help you, even God.

FOUNDATION

"We do the best we can to get through each day, the best we can. The foundation and the work they do, the friendships we have in Ireland that is what gives us comfort," explained Mrs Riedo.

Manuela was attacked and killed less than three days after arriving in Galway with fellow students from Fribourg to study English. She had been taking a short cut at Lough Atalia to join her school friends in the city centre when she was attacked by Barry on October 8, 2007.

The TV3 documentary '24 Hours to Kill' reconstructs her murder by the sex attacker who was out on bail at the time of the murder for another sex assault on a French student.

Speaking on the programme, barrister Paul Anthony McDermott calls for longer bail hearings for cases of violent sexual crimes and murder.

ccrawford@herald.ie


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