AN AMATEUR photographer who provided gardaí with the last known photo of a Romanian woman before she was found stabbed to death in Dublin's Phoenix Park last month is awaiting news about whether he will receive part of the €10,000 reward.
Julian Gillespie, an amateur photographer and part-time teacher and tour guide, snapped Eugenia Bratis (50), from Timisoara, as she sat begging on O'Connell Bridge three months before she was found murdered.
On 11 August, Crimestoppers offered the reward for information which led to a positive identification of the woman, whose body was found in the Phoenix Park.
Gillespie saw the photograph gardaí issued of the dead woman on television and it immediately reminded him of the photo he had taken three months earlier because of the two distinctive moles on her face.
"I remember that she didn't look like a drunk or like she was on drugs. Her clothes were clean and she just looked down on her luck and miserable," he said. "When I saw the garda picture of her after she died, I recognised the two moles on her face immediately, and it was the clincher. I didn't speak to her. I sometimes take pictures of people who are unaware they are being photographed."
Gillespie checked his photos and then contacted gardaí as he was sure it was the same woman. The officer took a note of what he said and his contact details, and said someone would be in touch. Four days later, Gillespie went on holidays to France.
A week into his trip, he received a call from gardaí at Cabra asking him to send them the photographs as soon as possible. "Luckily, I had the memory card with the photos on them and was able to email them. When I got back, I had to make a statement to gardaí about it. I wasn't aware there was a reward offered until I got back."
At that stage, a Romanian living in Ireland recognised Bratis and she was eventually identified following liaisons with police in Romania. A detective at Cabra will present a report to Crimestoppers who will determine if the reward offered to assist in identifying the Romanian woman is to be issued.
"I believe the Romanian who identified her did so from the garda photograph of the dead woman. My photos are being used by gardaí to assist their investigation. I don't know if I'm to get part of the reward. If I don't, so be it, but I have it on good authority that I'll get something."
Significant garda resources have been deployed to investigate the murder, which is being led by detectives at Blanchardstown.
A challenge to solving the case is that Bratis was not identified for 10 days, making it difficult for gardaí to establish suspects and trace their movements.