herald

Thursday 19 April 2018

'Vulnerable Linda was let down by system' as gardai hunt 'predator'

Gardai search the scene this morning where the body of a woman was discovered in undergrowth at Coolmine Wood
Gardai search the scene this morning where the body of a woman was discovered in undergrowth at Coolmine Wood

A 'predator' wanted for questioning by gardai over the suspected murder of Dublin woman Linda Christian (29) is in his native Romania, sources revealed last night.

The man is wanted in relation to the violent death of Ms Christian, whose badly decomposed remains were found in undergrowth in the Coolmine area of the capital on Monday.

Sources said the "vulnerable" woman had been "taken advantage" of by the man, who she met several months ago.

"Gardai know this man is in Romania. The indications are that he was a predator and he is considered a person of interest in this tragic case," a source said last night.

Hospital

A post-mortem carried out on Ms Christian's remains proved inconclusive.

Gardai appealed on July 3 for information in relation to her disappearance. She had been reported missing on June 24, and when last seen she was wearing a green bomber jacket and blue jeans and carrying a pink gym bag.

Sources said she was being treated in hospital at the time of her disappearance.

Gardai again appealed for information last Wednesday and also on Saturday.

It has emerged since the discovery of Ms Christian's body that she was a vulnerable young woman preyed upon and taken advantage of by people who saw her as a soft touch.

Neighbours and residents in the Dublin 15 addresses where she lived said they feel she was failed by the system of care in Ireland and should have been more protected by the State.

She was fostered by the Christian family early in life and spent the first few years with them, living in their home on Hadleigh Green in Castleknock.

Foster father Myles Christian, who was from the UK, was a lecturer in the department of civil engineering at UCD, while foster mother Jackie was a Dubliner.

The Christians had a family of their own, but as one person who knew them well said, they were comfortable and wanted to share what they had with others.

"They fostered many children and they were devoted to their own children and any other children they took in," said a neighbour.

The family later moved to the newly-built Ongar estate in Clonee and Ms Christian moved with them.

In Blackwood Crescent, Ongar, the Christians continued to raise their own and fostered children with love, care and affection. In February 2008, Mr Christian died suddenly of a heart attack.

The family continued to live in Ongar until the children grew up and moved on with their lives.

In November 2012, Mrs Christian sold the house and moved to Wexford.

"Linda had moved out at this stage. She left when she was around 18, but she came back to live in the area and she would be spotted around Ongar," said a local resident.

Shame

"The Christians did as much as anyone could have done in helping her, but in the end Linda seemed to be let down by the system.

"It's a terrible shame. She just seemed to be vulnerable."

The house where Ms Christian spent the last years of her life was not far from Blackwood Crescent. It was in Manor Place, Ongar, and is thought to have been supplied either through the local authority or the HSE.

Neighbours said groups of people had taken advantage of her, and there would regularly be trouble at the house.

"I knew when she went missing that it was going to be bad news,'' said local man Derek Armstrong.

''If she got the care that she was supposed to get, this might not have happened."

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