| 18.3°C Dublin

Dr Cassidy's Casebook Former state pathologist Marie Cassidy tells of her connection with parents of murdered Manuela Riedo

'To hear the details of what happened to your beautiful daughter, it must be like a knife through their heart...'

Close

Marie Cassidy recalls some of her cases

Marie Cassidy recalls some of her cases

Marie Cassidy recalls some of her cases

Former state pathologist Marie Cassidy has revealed how she hugged the parents of a Swiss teenager raped and murdered in Galway after they presented her with an angel figurine representing their only child at the conclusion of her murder trial.

Manuela Riedo (17) arrived in Ireland to study English at a language school just three days prior to her murder in 2007.

Gerald Barry, who was 29 at the time and from Rahoon, Galway, strangled Manuela after attacking and raping her on a pedestrian walkway known as 'The Line', close to the Lough Atalia area of Renmore in Galway city.

Close

Manuela Riedo in Galway

Manuela Riedo in Galway

Manuela Riedo in Galway

The fiend, who was out on bail for a domestic violence assault and was a suspect in another rape case eight weeks prior to the attack on Manuela, was found after DNA on a used condom he discarded at the scene matched his and the student's.

Manuela had disappeared after leaving her host family to go meet friends in the city centre.

In a new RTÉ series Dr Cassidy's Casebook, the Scottish-born pathologist recalls events at the time.

"We knew something awful had happened to this girl," she says.

"We walked from where she had come. We walked through the path, being very careful not to walk directly in her footsteps, but following in her footsteps until we got to the clearing where the body had been found, and then we just all stopped.

Close

Killer Gerald Barry

Killer Gerald Barry

Killer Gerald Barry

"It was obviously very clear, because of the state of the body and the state of undress, that this was a sexual crime - and that was going to be of prime importance, because again sexual crimes leave traces."

Gerald Barry was identified as the suspect when the DNA found at the scene was put through the database. He initially pleaded guilty to theft of a phone and camera, but denied murder.

"To sit and listen to the details of what happened to your beautiful daughter, it must be like a knife through their heart," reflects Dr Cassidy.

Manuela's parents Hans Peter and Arlette asked to meet Dr Cassidy at the conclusion of the case and presented her with a red velvet pouch, which contained a porcelain angel.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Close

Hans Peter and Arlette

Hans Peter and Arlette

Hans Peter and Arlette

"I said 'thank you very much, there was no need, that I was just doing my job'," she recalls.

"They said 'no, we want you to remember her'. I opened up the bag and there was this little porcelain figurine of an angel and they said 'we want you to remember our angel'.

Close

The figurine Hans Peter and Arlette gave to Dr Cassidy

The figurine Hans Peter and Arlette gave to Dr Cassidy

The figurine Hans Peter and Arlette gave to Dr Cassidy

"Because of what I do and when I'm working and focused and very contained, but once you see the effect that this death has had on the family, I'm like everybody else, you just want to give them a hug and say 'there, there, there'. To give me that, it's a constant reminder, again of how fragile life can be."

Liam Lynam, who photographed the murder scene, presented the parents witch a poignant picture he took at the scene.

"I ended up minding the scene, the lads went to lunch time. I was there by myself and this little robin came down and alighted on the scene. I said 'I'm going to photograph that'.

Close

Dr Marie Cassidy at a crime scene

Dr Marie Cassidy at a crime scene

Dr Marie Cassidy at a crime scene

"So I photographed the robin. Around the time the trial, I said I would present it to her parents. They got very emotional... they explained they put a monolith on Manuela's grave and they were going down to see it for the first day, and when they went down to the graveyard there was a robin sitting on the stone. So you wonder do things transcend."

  • Dr Cassidy's Casebook starts tomorrow on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy