A woman charged with murdering her colleague by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned, told gardaí she couldn’t take it any more when he got into her car after spending two years following her, texting her, and telling her he loved her.
Her first Garda statements were read to the Central Criminal Court yesterday on the fifth day of her trial.
Marta Herda, aged 29, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow, is charged with the murder of Csaba Orsas, aged 31, on March 26, 2013. The Polish woman has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Hungarian at South Quay, Arklow.
Garda Anthony Crehan testified that he travelled to the hospital where Ms Herda had been taken after swimming from her submerged car. He took a voluntary statement from her there and another at Arklow station that afternoon.
She said she hadn’t known the deceased until she began working at Brook Lodge Hotel two years earlier.
“I think he fell in love with me,” she said. “I was never his girlfriend, but it was 24 hours a day. He came to my place, to my friends’ places.” She said he also used to text her and put things on Facebook.
She said later that although she knew him only through work, he had known her before that.
“He told me he knew me from Brook Lodge restaurant when I went there for a meal with friends. He even remembered what clothes I was wearing.”
She said he used to talk about her to her colleagues.
“He tell them we have sex, but that not true,” she said. “It got worse.”
She said he used to sit beside her at work and wanted to hold her hand.
“People think this funny but not for me. The second year it no longer funny.”
She said management was aware of the problem due to him leaving his work to go to be with her.
She said a friend had spoken to Mr Orsas’s brother in order to keep the away from her and that she hadn’t answered his calls for the last three months.
“He also followed me in person the last two years,” she said, explaining that she had lived alone for the first year and that she would frequently see his car there.
She said she used to make the taxi driver drive right up to her home and that she would run in the gate. She said she would then hear him banging the gate.
She said she had told her friends to contact the gardaí if she ever went missing for more than three days.
She said the day before the incident he had followed her to the playground, where she had been minding her friend’s children.
She said she went to a friend’s house that night and had a couple of glasses of wine with him. That friend, Viktor Szentesi, had driven her home in her car before walking home.
“Csaba come to my car. He wanted to talk,” she said, adding that he had wanted her to take them to the beach.
“He was screaming at me.”
She said she drove down Main St. “He was feeling my left leg,” she said. “I was afraid.” She said she remembered hitting the accelerator.
“I feel I have enough of this. I drive to water. I cannot take this anymore.”
She said she recalled being under the water.
“I screamed his name. I saw ladder and got out.”
She said the deceased had not hit her. He had grabbed her very hard once but she had pushed him.
“When I drove into the water, I wanted this all to stop,” she said. “I didn’t want to tell the guards. You must remember that in Poland people don’t like police.”
The trial also heard from the doctor and nurses who treated her in hospital.
Dr Donal Bailey testified he had asked her if she knew what would happen when the car entered the water.
“She nodded and became tearful,” he said. “Her only answer to me was that she knew he couldn’t swim.”
Under cross-examination by the defence, he agreed that she had difficulty with her tenses in English. He thought she was saying retrospectively that she knew what would happen, not that she knew beforehand. He agreed this didn’t cause him to revise his conclusion that she had no homicidal intent.
Nurse Claire Best testified that she asked her if she had been hurt.
“She said she didn’t give him a chance,” said the nurse. “That he didn’t think she would do it and she knew he couldn’t swim.”
She confirmed under cross-examination that the words “he didn’t believe I’d do it” were not in the notes she made that morning.
The trial continues.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved