Jury in trial of woman accused of driving man off pier sees video of her celebrating deceased's birthday

Jury in trial of woman accused of driving man off pier sees video of her celebrating deceased's birthday

A murder trial jury has seen a video of the deceased celebrating his birthday with the woman alleged to have murdered him by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned.

The video was played to the Central Criminal Court today on the seventh day of the 29-year-old’s trial.

Marta Herda of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow is charged with the murder of 31-year-old Csaba Orsos on March 26, 2013.

The Polish waitress has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Hungarian at South Quay, Arklow. Both had worked at Brook Lodge Hotel in Aughrim.

She told Gardaí that he had been in love with her and that she didn’t feel the same way. She said it was ‘24 hours a day’ and that she couldn’t take it anymore when she drove to the harbour that morning.

His brother, Zoltan Sandor, testified yesterday that he and his family had celebrated Mr Orsos’ with him at the deceased man’s home in July 2012.

He was shown a video of the celebration in court. Ms Herda could be seen sitting at the table next to the deceased as he blew out the candles on his cake.

He agreed with the defence that he (Mr Sondars) could be heard telling Ms Herda that she was the present or something similar.

He was also asked if Ms Herda could be heard replying that she had come to the house to warn the deceased that his manager knew he had lied when he had rung in sick.

“My English at this time is 50/50,” he replied, indicating that he couldn’t be sure what she had said.

The jury also heard that Ms Herda had pointed to the bride’s and groom’s seats at a wedding, while telling the deceased: “This will be us one day.”

The evidence was given by their colleague, Martin Penn.

He said he recalled setting up for a wedding with them one day.

“Marta Herda pointed at the bride’s and groom’s empty seats,” he testified. “She stated: ‘This will be us one day’.”

Under cross examination by the defence, he accepted that this could have been a line that the deceased had used many times.

“She does accept that she said it, but in a light-hearted way in the context of him having said that to her on many occasions,” said Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending.

“Would you accept that?” he asked the witness.

“Yeah, ok,” replied Mr Penn.

Katryna Sobek testified that she had known Ms Herda for four years by 2013.

The Polish woman said that Ms Herda and the deceased had been friends, but that he had fallen in love with her and problems had started. She said that Ms Herda had complained to her about him ‘many times’.

“She was upset and she was afraid of him,” she said. “Csaba was following her by car.”

She said that he had come to another friend’s home one evening a few weeks before he died.

“We could see him downstairs,” she stated. “Marta was upset that he came and (was saying) what was she going to do. She didn’t want to meet him.”

She said she was surprised that the deceased had been in her friend’s car on the morning he died.

She said that Mr Orsos had often contacted her through Facebook and asked her how Ms Herda was, said he loved her and missed her very much.

She also confirmed that she knew Ms Herda was a good swimmer.

The court later heard from the man with whom Ms Herda had spent the hours before the incident.

Viktor Szentesi said he hadn’t been in a relationship with her, but agreed that they used to kiss.

He said that it had ‘crossed his mind’ to have a relationship with her, but he had never told her.

The Hungarian said that he and Ms Herda had gone to his apartment around midnight and stayed there for a number of hours.

He said that he had wanted her to stay that night but she insisted on going home around 5am. He drove her home in her car and then walked the 25 minutes back to his home.

“She didn’t want me to walk. She wanted me to take her car home,” he said. “I didn’t feel like driving again.”

He said he took the car keys off her at her doorstep, sat into the car, turned on the engine and pretended that he was going to drive. Once she had closed the door, he put the keys through her letterbox.

He agreed with Brendan Grehan SC prosecuting that it was ‘easier’ to pretend.

“She was stubborn,” he explained.

However, she heard the keys drop through the letterbox and confronted him. He said he stormed off.

He said there were several missed calls on his phone, when he arrived home and he called her back.

“She asked was I ok, had I got home,” he said. “She was looking for me.”

He said there was loud music where she was and that he figured she was in her car.

“She seemed a bit upset and confused,” he said. “I just didn’t understand why she was looking for me.”

He said she didn’t answer when he asked why she was in her car or where she was, so he said goodnight and hung up.

He said that he continued to see her after the incident, but that she didn’t like it when he began ignoring her and focussing on his new female flatmate a few months later.

“She cried a few times on the phone,” he said. “She said she was going to have some feelings that she never said before.”

He agreed with the defence that Mr Orsos had once followed them as far as Wicklow and that he had parked in front of them at Tesco and just looked at them on another occasion.

He confirmed that he had told Gardaí that Mr Orsos had been stalking her, but that she had refused his help in sorting it. He didn’t think she wanted men to be aggressive with him.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.

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