Attempt to report Marioara Rostas missing ‘unsuccessful’

Father of murdered Romanian teen went to gardaí but says they ‘didn’t understand’ him

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 18:43

The father of a teenager found in a shallow grave in 2012 has described the afternoon that she disappeared at a busy Dublin junction four years earlier and his unsuccessful attempt to report her missing.

Dumitru Rostas was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of the 35-year-old man charged with murdering his daughter.

Alan Wilson of New Street Gardens in Dublin is charged with murdering Marioara Rostas at a house on Brabazon Street, The Coombe in the city. The 18-year-old has pleaded not guilty to her murder between January 7th and January 8th, 2008.

The trial has heard that her body was found in a shallow grave in Kippure on the Wicklow border in January 2012. She had died of four bullet wounds to her head.

Mr Rostas, a father of 10, testified that he moved from Romania to Ireland in late 2007, along with his wife and son. His daughter, Mariaora, joined them on December 19th of that year.

The family lived in Donabate but developed a habit of begging in the city. This is what they were doing on Sunday, January 6th 2012, just over a fortnight after her arrival.

He said that he left his son and daughter around 2pm to get some food and returned about 20 minutes later. When he returned, his daughter was gone.

He said the family waited for three hours but she didn’t return. He went to a Garda station once it became dark, but “they didn’t understand” him.

The family returned to Donabate to see if Ms Rostas was there, but she wasn’t. He said that the following day, he learned that she had made a call to a phone in Romania.

Mr Rostas said that he eventually managed to get an interpreter and report his daughter missing on January 9th, three days after she had disappeared.

The jury also heard from two witnesses, who saw a Romanian girl begging at the junction of Pearse Street and Lombard Street that Sunday. Both had been attending a church service in the area and had seen the girl begging there before.

One of the witnesses, Martha Murphy, said she appeared ‘very young, about 13 or 14’ and ‘very thin with sallow skin’.

The jury heard that the alleged murder scene was the focus of a garda investigation at the end of the following month after the fire brigade extinguished a blaze at the house.

Garda Daniel McCarthy said he went to the three-storey house on Brabazon Street some hours after the fire had been extinguished on February 29th.

“There seemed to be quite a few seats of fire at all levels,” he said.

“It appeared that there was a probability that an accelerant could have been used,” he explained. “On the top floor, there were the burnt remains of a fuel can. There were still fumes of petrol from it.”

He said he returned to the house in October 2008 as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Ms Rostas.

He agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that this house had been let to Fergus O’Hanlon and Maxine Wilson. The jury has already heard that Mr O’Hanlon was the accused man’s friend and Ms Wilson his sister.

The jury was earlier shown a photograph of a bullet recovered from a wall in the house during the investigation that October.

The jury also heard from a number of gardaí who took part in the search in Kippure in 2012. The officers first uncovered a bunker measuring five feet long, about two feet wide and three and a half feet deep.

A week later they recovered the teenager’s remains in a shallower grave. Her body was enclosed in a piece of plastic and eight plastic bags, three of which covered her entire head and body. Underneath the plastic, her head was covered with a pillow case and her legs wrapped in a bed sheet.

Detective Garda Brian Barry identified the four lead bullets and several bullet fragments recovered from her head during her post-mortem exam.

He said they were .22 calibre bullets that had been damaged from their impact with a hard surface. He said they were consistent with having been discharged from a .22 inch calibre firearm and believed the fragments came from those four bullets.

Michael O’Higgins SC asked if the bullets had been compared with those found in the house on Brabazon Street. He said they had been compared with inconclusive results.

The prosecution has already told the jury that it will hear from Fergus O’Hanlon. He told gardaí that Mr Wilson called him to the house on Brabazon Street in January 2008 and showed him a corpse, saying: “She was a witness”.

He told detectives that he then assisted the accused in burying her body.

The trial continues on Monday before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of 10 men and two women.