A woman accused of murdering her boyfriend told gardaí that the deceased was saved in her mobile phone as “sadist” because they had so many fights in the past, a trial has heard.
The mother-of-two also said that she took a knife from the kitchen worktop in order to protect herself as she was afraid he might kill her after they got into a fight. She further said she was not responsible for his death.
The jury was watching garda interviews today in the Central Criminal Court trial of a 48-year-old woman, charged with murdering her 40-year-old boyfriend in her Co Tipperary home.
Inga Ozolina, originally from Latvia, but with an address at Old Court Church, Mounthrath, Co Laois has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Pukas at The Malthouse, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, on November 20, 2016. He died from a stab wound to his chest.
Detective Garda Stuart Beatty told prosecution counsel Frank Quirke BL that he and a colleague had interviewed the accused later that day in Nenagh garda station.
Ms Ozolina told gardaí in her interview that Mr Pukas’ number was saved in her mobile phone as “sadist” because they had so many fights in the past. “He treating me like a sadist. I couldn’t show up to work on one occasion. I lied to my manager and said I fell down,” she explained.
The accused said she was taking food out of the oven at 1am on the night when Mr Pukas grabbed her by the hair. Following this, he began hitting and biting her, she said.
Ms Ozolina said that she took a “regular kitchen knife with a timber-handle” from the kitchen worktop in order to defend herself. “He came very close so I think the knife touched him and he flinched back,” she said, adding that Mr Pukas continued to hold her by the left arm.
The knife could have touched him “somewhere in the shoulder area” or elsewhere, she said, adding that he was trying to take the knife off her at the time.
The accused said Mr Pukas was acting “insane” at the time and told gardaí that she was afraid if he took the knife off her, he might kill her. “That’s why I was holding the knife tightly,” she added.
Ms Ozolina said that her boyfriend could have been in pain at the time but as he was wearing a dressing gown she did not see any blood.
The accused said that she only applied force to the handle of the knife when Mr Pukas tried to take the knife off her.
Gardaí asked Ms Ozolina if she accepted that Mr Pukas' injuries were caused by her pointing the knife at him. “I think if he didn’t try to twist my arm he would never have got injured and got caught with the knife,” she replied.
Ms Ozolina also told gardaí that she only took the knife to protect herself.
The accused said she thought Mr Pukas had suffered an asthma attack when she found him lying on the ground, adding that she gave him “mouth-to-mouth” when she realised he was not breathing.
It was only when she did a heart compression on Mr Pukas did she realise there was blood on the left side of his chest, she said.
Ms Ozolina said she did not know the emergency number so she drove to the garda station in “a state of panic”.
The accused said she did not pay attention to what she said to gardaí when she arrived at the garda station as her “main goal” was to get an ambulance sent to her apartment as soon as possible.
Evidence has been given that Ms Ozolina said that she had killed her boyfriend when she arrived at the garda station and told a garda: “I stabbed him. I pushed the knife into him, come quick".
Concluding the interview, Ms Ozolina told gardaí that she was not responsible for her boyfriend’s death.
Dr Maeve Carroll, a GP with a practice in Roscrea, told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that Ms Ozolina came to her surgery on four occasions.
The witness testified that the last time the accused was at her surgery was on the afternoon of April 18, 2016 and she carried out a medical examination.
Dr Carroll said Ms Ozolina had bruising to both eyelids as well as a 5cm bruise extending from the left ear to the neck area.
There was “palpable muscle spasm” to the left side of her neck as well as bruising and scratch marks to her left forearm, she said.
The GP also pointed out that there were multiple bruises consistent with finger marks to her right forearm as well as scratch marks.
Furthermore, there was a bruise to the left side of her lower abdomen and right shoulder, she indicated.
Other injuries to Ms Ozolina included a lump on the right side of her head and her scalp was tender to touch, concluded Dr Carroll.
“She was distressed and upset during the examination,” said the witness. Dr Carroll told the court that it was her medical opinion that Ms Ozolina had been assaulted by someone else.
The accused had multiple soft tissue injuries, outlined Dr Carroll, adding that she advised Ms Ozolina to take anti-inflammatory medication.
Dr Carroll denied in her testimony that she had advised Ms Ozolina to defend herself if the man assaulted her again.
The witness further denied that she had suggested to the accused that she “have a sharp object handy just in case” the man assaulted her again.
The trial has previously heard that the accused and deceased were in a “tempestuous and volatile relationship” which was “violent at times”. The prosecution contends there is “no question of self-defence” in the case.
The trial continues on Friday before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury of seven men and five women.