Alan Wilson will never again stand trial for the murder of Mariora Rostas. Given the difficulties in getting the case this far it’s doubtful anybody will ever again stand in the dock accused of ending this girls life.
Why this injustice should rankle quite as much as it does is hard to say. Justice denied to the family of any victim, or the memory of that victim diminishes the entire justice system. Perhaps though it is that Mariora was so completely failed by everything in the course of her short life that this last attempt to do right by her is a disappointment that is particularly hard to stomach.
I have reported from Palestinian refugee camps, the squats of migrant Africans in abandoned railroad warehouses, sink estates in Eastern Europe and drug dens in Central America. I have never been as shocked by somebody’s living conditions, though until I went to Donabate in North Dublin two years ago.
Mariora Rostas was one of fifteen children born in Timisoara in Romania to Mariora and Dimitru Rostas. The extended Rostas family were among those who took up residence in 2007 in the roundabout at the Ballymun intersection of the M50. But the parents of the murdered Roma eighteen year old didn’t travel here until the end of that year after the majority had already been repatriated. Mariora stayed at home to look after her younger brothers and sisters while her parents came her to beg.
Mariora snr and Dumitru would have been very far removed from those in the Roma community who live a life of luxury off the proceeds of begging. Dumitru was a horse dealer, and not very successful at it. However bad things were in Romania they would want to have been awful to be an improvement on where they found themselves living when they got here.
The abandoned bungalow on the outskirts of Donabate is of course not a worse place to live than a refugee camp. The shock is that anybody lives like this in our midst. There was no running water, toilet, electricity, light, flooring or furniture. Rubble has been bulldozed up to the back of the house to deny access, and has burst through all the windows. Rainwater runs freely down the wall. I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face it was so dark.
This is how Mariora lived for the last three weeks of her life. The circumstances of her disappearance and death are pretty distressing. But the conditions of the life she was born into, and had no chance of escaping are worth dwelling on too. Particularly as all of the more prurient and less charitable things that were reported six years ago have turned out to be unfounded.
This is a podcast of a report I filed for Drivetime before Wilson had been charged with her murder that hopefully offers a more complete insight into how Mariora lived while she was here.