Woman said she acted in self-defence when boyfriend died of stab wound, murder trial hears

Inga Ozolina in 2016. Pic: Press 22.

A woman on trial, charged with murdering her boyfriend, told gardaí that she was acting in self-defence when the knife in her hand killed him.

She denied washing the knife afterwards because she "knew" she "had murdered" her boyfriend and wanted to get rid of DNA.

The 48-year-old woman is on trial at the Central Criminal Court, charged with murdering the 40-year-old father of two in their Co. Tipperary home.

Inga Ozolina, originally from Latvia, but with an address at Old Court Church, Mountrath, Co Laois, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Audrius Pukas at The Malthouse, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, on November 20, 2016. He died at the scene from a stab wound to his chest.

Detective Garda Stuart Beatty testified today that he interviewed the accused a number of times in the days following his death. She said she took a knife to defend herself after her boyfriend began hitting and biting her.

Det. Gda Beatty told Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, that he gave her the results of her boyfriend’s post-mortem exam in her final interview. She was told that the knife had gone into his chest to a depth of 20cm.

“The weight could have driven the knife,” she replied. “As he was pushing me down and I was holding the knife, he was twisting my arm.”

She was also told that the knife had penetrated his arm to a depth of 13cm.

“That is shocking,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain that. It’s possible he could have put the knife into himself by accident.”

She said she had no intention of taking the knife to cause him injury or kill him.

“He started the fight. I did not approach him,” she said. “In my opinion, he cut himself when we were struggling for the knife in the kitchen.”

She had already said that Mr Pukas had then gone downstairs and that she had washed the knife. The court heard last week that gardaí found the knife in a kitchen drawer and that, under magnification, it showed three specks of blood matching the deceased’s.

She was asked why she had washed it.

“I didn’t think that he could have hurt himself,” she replied. “I was in a panic and I just decided to do some washing. I was washing dishes before the fight and I just continued washing the dishes.”

It was put to her that the only reason she washed the knife was because "you knew you murdered Audrius and you were thinking you wanted to get get rid of DNA".

“No,” she replied. “I did not think of any wounds or anything like that while I was doing the washing. I simply decided to continue washing the dishes.”

She asked them to add to their notes that she was in a state of shock at the time.

“Were you in shock because you’d just murdered your partner?” she was asked.

“No,” she replied. “I was not aware that he was injured.”

She said she realised that he was wounded a few minutes later when she found him downstairs.

Det. Gda Beatty said that he later charged her with assaulting Mr Pukas, causing him harm.

“I disagree with this charge,” she replied. “I did not assault this man. We did have a fight. I acted in self-defence.”

The trial continues tomorrow morning before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury of seven men and five women.

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