A woman charged with murdering her colleague by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned, told a paramedic that “he shouldn’t have been there. I drove the car into the water,” her trial has heard.
Marta Herda, aged 29, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of 31-year-old Csaba Orsas on March 26, 2013, at South Quay, Arklow.
Paul Quinn, a paramedic, said he was called to the quay around 6.15am, and met Ms Herda. “She was soaking wet, distraught, cold, and shivery. There was white foam coming from her mouth,” he said.
Mr Quinn said he and his colleague treated her for hypothermia before taking her to hospital in Loughlins-town. He said he tried to talk to her in the ambulance during the 45-minute journey.
“She would repeat the name ‘Csaba’. She was concerned,” he said. “Csaba was the passenger in the car.”
Mr Quinn was asked if she mentioned who was driving. “Marta said she was driving,” he replied.
Mr Quinn said she kept mentioning that Csaba “shouldn’t have been there”. He became concerned that there might have been an assault so he questioned her.
“She said, ‘He shouldn’t have been there. I drove the car into the water.’”
A witness, who lived near the quay, said she was woken by a woman screaming that she had been raped.
Christina Byrne testified that she went outside once she heard the words ‘Help. I’ve been raped’.
“I walked up to the top of the road,” she said, recalling that her neighbour had also gone out. “The girl seemed very upset… She was dripping wet.”
She was cross-examined by Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha, defending, who put it to her that her neighbour, Maria Travers, had also thought she had heard the word ‘rape’, but had accepted, under cross-examination, that the woman might not have said this.
“My own client can’t remember what she said,” he had told Ms Travers. “But there’s no suggestion that she was raped, so I suggest it may be possible she didn’t say that.”
Ms Travers agreed it was possible because she didn’t speak Polish and an echo in the area might have distorted the words.
“Would you accept the same thing?” he asked Ms Byrne.
“No, I’d be 100% sure,” she said.
He suggested Ms Byrne wasn’t being honest when she said she was certain and asked if it was possible she was mistaken.
“No,” she said.
Mr Ó Lideadha had earlier questioned Garda Michael Hall, who had collated records of calls and texts between the accused, the deceased, and some of their colleagues at the Brook Lodge Hotel in Aughrim.
A number of the calls were made between 5.20am and 5.37am that day. He agreed with Mr Ó Lideadha that the prosecution opened the case saying that how Ms Herda and Mr Orsas came to be together that morning may be of significance.
“The prosecution case is that these are suspicious communications and the accused has effectively lured the deceased out to his death through these calls,” said Mr Ó Lideadha. “Isn’t that the case?”
Garda Hall said that all he could say was “what’s on the phone records”.
The jury also heard that the Mr Orsas’s injuries were consistent with drowning.
Professor Marie Cassidy, the State pathologist, said:
”There was abundant bloodstained froth in his airways. His lungs were double the normal weight and overinflated. Their appearance was consistent with death due to drowning.”
The trial has now gone into legal argument and will continue on Monday.
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