A witness noticed a woman arguing on the phone in a car shortly before the accused is alleged to have driven her passenger colleague into a deep harbour, where he drowned, a murder trial has heard that.

Marta Herda, aged 29, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Rd, Arklow, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Hungarian man Csaba Orsas, aged 31, at South Quay, Arklow, around 6am on March 26, 2013.

At the Central Criminal Court, Paul Hickey testified that he left his home for work around 5.20 that morning. Within five minutes, he walked past a gold or silver Volkswagen Passat parked half on the Wexford Rd and half in a parking space. The engine was running, he said.

He said he had noticed this car before because it had rubber eyelashes over the headlights. “I could see someone in the car alone, on the phone, very animated, like some argument was going on,” he said, confirming the person was female.

Mr Hickey said a cyclist passed him as he made his way through the town, and the same car with the same driver passed him soon afterwards. He identified himself from CCTV footage captured on the main street. He said the driver was still on the phone and still animated.

He learned about the incident at the harbour later that day. “I seen the car that I’d seen that morning had been pulled from the river,” he said. “I contacted the guards.”

Under cross-examination by the defence, Mr Hickey agreed he had not mentioned an argument in his statement to gardaí that day, but had used the word ‘animated’.

The jury also heard that a postman found Mr Orsas’ front door open about two hours after the car entered the water.

Stephen Mitchell testified that he was delivering post to Brookview Court in the town around 8.15am when he noticed the door to one house was ajar. The jury had already heard that this was the home of Mr Orsas.

The court later heard that Ms Herda had two mobile phones, one that she used for the majority of her contact with the deceased, and one used to contact others.

Garda Michael Hall testified that gardaí did not get records for her second phone, but did for her other phone, which he said was the one she had originally told them about in interview.

He gave details of 10 missed calls from Ms Herda to a mutual acquaintance between 5.06am and 5.17am on the day of the incident. She then called the deceased three times, the final call being at 5.35am and lasting two minutes.

Garda Hall said that in the 48 hours or so before the incident, Ms Herda called Mr Orsas 12 times; eight of these calls were from her second number. During the same time, the deceased called her 13 times and sent her nine texts. All the calls and seven of the texts were to her second number.

The trial continues.


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