Former Miss Ireland questioned about details of her relationship with Ryan


MR CATHAL Ryan and Ms Michelle Rocca had a row on the aircraft on their way to Rome for a holiday in 1990, but the holiday went quite well and they reconciled, the former Miss Ireland told the High Court.

Afterwards, they returned to England, where they were living at the time. She came back to Dublin after they had a row.

She stayed with her parents in Castleknock, Dublin. Later she lived in a house at Brighton Road, Foxrock. She visited Mr Ryan in England for a few days and stayed in a B&B.

Asked if at that stage their relationship was virtually finished, Ms Rocca said it was not good, but it was not over.

Mr Garrett Cooney SC, for Mr Ryan, asked if she had phoned Mr Ryan and said she had something important to tell him. Ms Rocca said she could not say it was wrong that she phoned him.

Mr Cooney asked if they met in Howth and that she told him she had discovered she was pregnant.

Ms Rocca said that was not true. She remembered him coming to her home, climbing up on the balcony and knocking on the door and asking if she was pregnant and she said she was.

They were talking on the balcony until late but she did not remember marriage being mentioned that night.

Mr Cooney said Mr Ryan's evidence would be that when Ms Rocca informed Mr Ryan she was pregnant, she said they would have to get married. Ms Rocca said Mr Ryan said he would not marry somebody because they were pregnant.

Mr Ryan came back to Ireland in August/September and moved in to the house in Foxrock. He lived there until before Christmas.

Asked if this was a stormy period, Ms Rocca said it was not. She had morning sickness, there were four children and they did not see much of each other.

Ms Rocca said she did not think Mr Ryan wished for the pregnancy. She disagreed that at that stage he did not want to marry her. She agreed that he did not want to get married until after the baby was born. She said that for the sake of the children it would be better if they got married.

Mr Cooney referred Ms Rocca to a Monday morning when they had come back to Dublin from Tipperary and the children had to change and be left to two schools, and to an incident that morning involving Mr Ryan's son.

Ms Rocca said she asked the boy to get out of the bathroom because she was having a shower. She reprimanded him because he was being naughty. She did not assault him.

Mr Cooney said Mr Ryan would say this incident was "the straw that broke the camel's back" and drove his sons to school and did not return. Ms Rocca said this was not true. Mr Ryan left the house about 10 days before Christmas. She was working with Wilson Hartnell at the time.

Mr Cooney suggested she had struck the boy. Ms Rocca said he accused her of pulling or pushing him from the bathroom. He had not accused her of striking him.

Ms Rocca agreed that from the time Mr Ryan left until March 1992 - the time of the alleged assault at the stud farm - they had not lived together. From the time he walked out, she would not live with him again unless things were sorted out.

Although they did not lived together there was still a relationship. If Mr Ryan was saying the engagement was off, he should have told her. She was his fiancee. The fact that he did not live with her was her choice. She did not intend living with him unless they got married.

After the lease on the Foxrock house ended, Mr Ryan arranged a lease for a house in Booterstown. He paid the rent. Later she moved to another house nearby. She paid her own rent.

They were still dating and engaged. They were trying to get the relationship back on track. When their daughter was christened the Ryans and Roccas were there.

She said she did not have a specific engagement ring. Mr Cooney suggested that when Mr Ryan showed her a ring, she threw it back and showed him the engagement ring Mr John Devine - to whom she had been married - had given her. Ms Rocca said that was untrue.

Mr Cooney suggested that about a month before the Co Kildare party, Ms Rocca had seen Mr Ryan and Ms Lindon having a drink in the Berkeley Court Hotel. Ms Rocca said she had not. She had never met Ms Lindon. She was not aware the two were romantically linked.

An allegation that a businessman, Mr David Marshall, was drunk in a bed in a room at the Co Kildare stud farm five years ago was withdrawn by Ms Rocca yesterday. Mr Marshall was stated to be prominent in the hairdressing business.

During cross examination, Mr Cooney SC, for Mr Ryan, was asked about a statement she made in court on Wednesday that Mr Marshall was drunk and had passed out on a bed on the night of the alleged assault.

Yesterday, Ms Rocca said she thought Mr Marshall might have been drunk. It was strange that he never moved to defend a woman, if he was just asleep. She was very angry and disappointed with Mr Marshall that he had not come to her defence or get help.

Mr Cooney said Mr Marshall was not drunk and would be giving a contradictory account to that of Ms Rocca. She was trying to belittle him in the eyes of the jury and readers of the accounts of the case.

Ms Rocca said if she said Mr Marshall was drunk, she was sorry - she had not meant to say he was. She withdrew the allegation that he was drunk. She wondered if he was taking something so that he slept through everything that happened.

Mr Cooney suggested that she was being outrageously dishonest in respect of Mr Marshall and prepared to damage his reputation. Ms Rocca said she thought he was going to damage her reputation.

Mr Cooney said Mr Marshall was an impartial witness and was independent.

Mr Cooney asked if at 7.45 a.m. yesterday, Ms Rocca's solicitor had phoned Mr Marshall's wife, from whom he was separated. Ms Rocca said her solicitor had told her that. She did not know what the purpose of the call was.

Ms Rocca said she just wanted her, as a character witness, to know what type of person Mr Marshall was.

Mr Cooney said that fortunately Ms Marshall was an honest woman and had told their side of the call.