Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Mum was viciously beaten to death, trial told

A mother of two whose body was found in the boot of her burning car had been viciously beaten to death and a plastic bag put over her head, a murder trial heard yesterday.

Lithuanian nationals Ruslanus Minekas (26) and Ricardus Dilys (28), both of Goodtide Harbour, Wexford Town, deny the murder of Rebecca French (30) of Wexford Town on October 9, 2009.

Her body was found in the boot of her blue Opel Corsa, which was set alight in the Ballindinas area of Ferrycarrig in Wexford.

The two accused men sat with their two translators in court.

A post-mortem by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy revealed extensive defence-type injuries to the arms and injuries on the abdomen and ribs consistent with kicks and stamping, while some injuries may also have resulted from punches.

There was no evidence of soot or smoke in the airways, meaning that Ms French had been dead before the fire in the car.

"It is the prosecution's case that the two accused assaulted Ms French in such a deadly fashion," the prosecution said.

Mr Dilys had used golf clubs to inflict the serious head injuries, while Mr Minekas had kicked Ms French and stamped on her, she claimed.

Actions

It is also the prosecution's case that each of the accused men was aware of the actions of the other and had acted jointly in inflicting the injuries.

A statement from Sarah Hall, who worked at New Line Stores in the town, told how at 9.15am that morning, two girls had come into the shop, one to the till -- whom she now knows to have been Rebecca French -- and another girl went down the back.

"I couldn't smell drink but she was definitely on something," she said of Ms French.

A bottle of wine was later found to be missing from the shop.

Several witnesses told of seeing four men walking down the road close to the site of the burning Opel Corsa that afternoon.

Firefighters said the car had been well ablaze by the time they arrived at the scene, at about 4.15pm and they discovered the body in the back.

Garda Jason Lynch said he was about 200 yards north of the burning car when he came across four men walking. They claimed they were coming from a house on Newtown Road and not from the burning car.

The trial continues.

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