The short, desperate life of Mariora Rostas

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.


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6 responses to “The short, desperate life of Mariora Rostas

  1. The story of Mariora’s disappearance has haunted me for a long time. I sincerely hope justice is served, whether through the courts or other, more brutal means. As an Irish person who feels deep shame at the way she met such an awful, lonely, fearful death, I also wish that there was an opportunity for me to give something back to this family, in the way of practical help and support- a charity fund or something similar. I’d be more than happy to donate to it, as I know many others would.


    Dear Philip,

    This poor girl and that is all that she was suffered more than anyone ever should. What is most distressing is that she is just one of the many women who have met with a torturous and callous end in this country and the perpetrators are either never caught or when they are they are sent to the sin bin that is the Irish penal system. A few years and they are back out to kill, rape and intimidate. Meanwhile we are expected to get upset about Ivor Callely’s mobile phone invoices. I would prefer if more attention was put on the disregard shown to women in this way and how we need to put perpetrators such as her muderer away and away for good. The recent release of Larry Murphy in spite of what he did to that young woman from Carlow was as good as having to put his victim through that ordeal all over again. Not to mention the families whose loved ones he is thought to have murdered also. I am especially upset however by Mariora’s murder and from what I gather brutal torture. I hope that if there is such a thing as a next life and if there is such a thing as justice find satisfaction and peace in both.

    Thank you Philip

  3. steven Hughes

    What a very sad and disturbing story for a tragic girl who’s only bit of comfort in life seems to have been a ride to the morgue in a Mercedes hearse. It is beyond belief that this element in our society are so above the law and out of control that they think they can just pick someone up from the street and do as they please with them with no consequences and order hits on top Gardai and journalists from their prison hotel room/office while I the taxpayer pay for their privilege. There is no law and order in this country and the so called legal system is not working. I would definately be on for more brutal punishments as there is no disincentive to crime in this country. When proven beyond doubt a guilty verdict on more than one occasion there should be no mercy given and send out a clear message to physotic criminals that it’s not worth it. Chain gangs or death penalties would be welcome as some elements are beyond redemption. You or I could meet someone like this in the wrong place and wrong time and be their victim. I’m sure that all the do gooders would again give me 100 reasons that my logic is warped and ask what about the criminals human rights, typical bs. What about my human rights to feel safe in my own country. We have lost total control of this country across the board. I think we need it back. Finally did Veronica Guerin die in vein? I see history repeating itself. Time to grow a pair Ireland.

  4. Reblogged this on An Cailín Rua and commented:
    This would break your heart. And it’s a stark reminder of the fact that while we might dismiss certain sectors of our society that they are fighting their own battles, far more than we can ever know.

  5. Joe Moore

    It appears from the media reporting of the trial that the judge did not want to find the accused man guilty of Marioara’s murder. This bears striking similarities with the cases of Toyosi Shittabey and Moses Ayanwole. Both from Nigeria were violently killed in Dublin. Toyosi was stabbed to death in Tyrellstown while Moses was punched and fell in Pearse St. In both cases the judges did not support the juries returning a guilty verdict. It appears that in Ireland you can literally get away with murder as long as the victim is African or Roma. Any of these cases can be compared with the Stephen Lawrence case in London. And as with the British establishment, the powers that be in Ireland seem content to allow immigrants to be murdered. Its just another manifestation of state racism.

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