Tragic death of Rebecca French recalled at inquest

Published 29/09/2015 | 00:00

The late Rebecca French
The late Rebecca French

Just weeks before the sixth anniversary of Rebecca French's horrific death, the inquest into her death finally came to a close.

30-year-old Rebecca of 65 Mount Prospect, Wexford was brutally murdered at 17 Ard na Dara, Clonard, Wexford on October 9, 2009. Her body was later found discovered in the boot of an abandoned burning car at Codd's Lane.

County Coroner Dr Sean Nixon said the inquest into Rebecca's death had been opened on May 12, 2011, and adjourned to allow criminal proceedings take place. He said at that time the medical evidence into her death was heard and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the face and head.

Detective Sgt Colm Dunne said that the body of Ms French was found in the boot of a burning car at Codd's Lane on October 9, 2009. Her body was badly damaged and had to be positively identified by DNA evidence.

He said six people were arrested in connection with her death. Dr Marie Cassidy, state pathologist, had indicated death had been caused by trauma to the head with an object. Detective Sgt Dunne said there was no evidence of soot or smoke in Ms French's lungs.

Ms French had last been seen alive in Aldi at Wexford Retail Park where she had attempted to purchase alcohol. He said five men were later charged in connection with her death, four of whom were convicted of impeding prosecution.

Detective Sgt Dunne said that Ms French was a 30-year-old mother of two who came from a large family of five sisters and three brothers. Her daughters are now aged 16 years and 11 years and live with Ms French's sister Rachel.

Dr Nixon said Ms French died following an assault and there was an attempt to burn her body in the boot of the car. He said it was more than likely she died at a house in Ard na Dara and not in the car. He said nobody had been convicted of her murder and he recommended to the jury of six men that they return a verdict of unlawful killing, which they did.

Dr Nixon extended sympathy for the French family on their 'very, very sad and very, very tragic loss'. He said it had been a 'long hard road for the family' and thanked them for attending the inquest.

Chairman of the jury Fergie Kehoe also extended sympathy to the family saying Rebecca had been a 'very popular girl around town who came from a very, very nice family'. He said for her to die in such circumstances was tragic. Inspector Pat McDonald also sympathised with family.

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