Dublin man Alan Wilson found not guilty of Marioara Rostas murder

Thursday 31 July 2014 23.47
Marioara Rostas was buried in a shallow grave in the Dublin-Wicklow Mountains
Marioara Rostas was buried in a shallow grave in the Dublin-Wicklow Mountains

A 35-year-old Dublin man has been found not guilty of murdering teenager Marioara Rostas in January 2008.

Alan Wilson of New Street Gardens in the city had pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Rostas at Brabazon Street, The Coombe between 7-8 January 2008.

The 18-year-old Romanian woman went missing on 6 January 2008 after getting into a car while begging in Dublin city centre.

She had been in Ireland for just 18 days.

Her body was buried in a shallow grave in the Dublin-Wicklow Mountains, where it was discovered four years later.

She had been shot four times in the head.

Wilson's friend Fergus O'Hanlon told the trial he helped Wilson to bury the body after returning home to find Wilson in his house and the girl's body in an upstairs bedroom.

Mr O'Hanlon had been arrested on suspicion of withholding evidence about the crime in 2008, but in 2011 when arrested on a separate matter, he told gardaí he had information about the girl's disappearance.

The defence claimed Mr O'Hanlon was an unreliable witness who had benefited from immunity from prosecution and the witness protection programme.

In closing argument this week, prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane told the jury that the case involved a "journey through the heart of darkness".

He said it was difficult for ordinary people to see things through the lens of the chief prosecution witness Mr O'Hanlon, who was involved in burying the body of the teenager.

There was a temptation to be sniffy and ask what the prosecution was doing relying on his evidence, but he said the context was important.

Mr Gillane said in that context the evidence the prosecution relies on was "never going to be from an altar boy or a choir boy". 

He said the jury would have to assess his motivation for giving the evidence.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins said it was a "one-witness case" and to bring in a conviction they had to be satisfied that witness was telling the truth.

He told the jury to "forget about altar boys and choir boys" and that he would take the commonest street thug if he gets into the witness box and tells the truth.

He said Mr O'Hanlon had lied about the first and last issues put to him in the witness box and this had "bookended" his evidence, which was full of lies and contrived lies.

Wilson was found not guilty by unanimous verdict after two hours and 53 minutes of deliberation.

He showed no reaction to the verdict before returning to prison to finish serving a seven-year sentence for attacking a man with a meat cleaver after breaking into his home.

The Rostas family were in court for the verdict as they had been throughout the trial but they gave no reaction afterwards.