The trial into the rape and murder of Buncrana woman Danielle McLaughlin is set to begin on Friday.
Danielle was found dead in Goa, India, on March 13th 2017. A local man has been charged with her rape and murder.
The trial is set to begin this Friday.
Speaking to Donegal Woman ahead of the trial, Danielle’s mother Andrea Brannigan says that they recently marked her anniversary with a special mass in Cockhill, Buncrana.
“Danielle was bubbly, chatty, kind so generous, and loved her wee sisters who she called her girls; and she had amazing friends all over the world who she loved so much.
“It’s hard, it doesn’t feel real that I’ll never see her again.
Andrea plans to travel for the verdict of the trial. The accused man had alleged that three of his friends had been involved in the rape and murder, however Danielle’s mum believes that the man accused is the sole perpetrator.
“He has pled not guilty, but regardless of his plea in India they will do a court case as the crime happened to a woman and the crime holds a sentence of over seven years.
“All medical evidence in both countries points to just the accused,” she added.
India-based Mr. Vikram Varma has been Danielle’s family’s advocate and lawyer since the investigation began last March.
A statement released by a Derry-based solicitor on behalf of the family reveals that a successful application was made to the Court by Mr Varma for intervention in the case so that the family of Danielle would have a role in the Trial.
The newly expanded Code of Criminal Procedure, as set out by the Indian Supreme Court, allows agarieved families to intervene in a case with some limited scope.
An application was made to the Court for legal representation for Danielle’s family; and it was successful. This will therefore allow Danielle’s family to have a lawyer present in Court in order to assist the Public Prosecutor and in order to make written arguments upon the closure of the evidence.
Furthermore, a legal representative of Danielle’s family will be present on their behalf to observe the proceedings.
“While Danielle’s family cannot accurately predict the outcome of any Trial they are content that they have legal representation now at the Trial. They understand that the prosecution have completed their investigations,” the statement reads.
“Danielle’s family must remain hopeful of a conviction in the matter.
“A lot of legal work has been completed over the last year since Danielle’s murder and rape and it is hoped that the full Trial will begin soon,” the statement concludes.
A campaign has been set up to assist Danielle’s family with fees relating to Danielle’s case.
Ms. Brannigan has invited anyone that would like to help out towards a fundraiser for The Truth for Danielle Fund to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or to send a message to The Truth for Danielle Fund’s Facebook page.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting the website at www.truthfordanielle.com or visit any Ulster Bank and say they would like to donate to ‘The Truth For Danielle Fund’; the fund has an account in Ulster Bank in Buncrana.