A Romanian man charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend in Dublin last year told gardaí that she had cut his throat, not the other way around.
The 35-year-old nurse was found dead on January 28, 2010 in a bedroom at the Irish Management Institute (IMI) in Sandyford. She had died of two cut-throat wounds to her neck.
Mihalache Marian (aged 49), with an address in Romania, was also found in the room with neck wounds. He has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Pricajan.
Detective Sergeant Eugene Stapleton told the Central Criminal Court today that he arrested the accused on February 1, 2010, at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. The court had already heard that he had undergone surgery there for his neck wounds.
Det. Sgt Stapleton and colleagues interviewed the defendant at Dundrum Garda Station, where he denied killing Ms Pricajan and said he didn’t understand why it was murder that they were investigating.
“I was in the room but I didn’t kill her,” he said.
“She talked. She said she really likes me, is really attracted to me and is under great pressure,” he told the gardaí.
“She told me every day she’s working with people who are dying and she’s not afraid of anything,” he continued.
“She took the knife and asked if I had the courage to end my life, the courage not to live anymore,” he said.
“I said I had the courage and she cut my neck. I fell on the bed. That’s all I know,” he added.
He denied that he killed her because she had a new boyfriend and didn’t want him anymore, and that afterwards he’d tried to kill himself.
“I told her she can do whatever she thinks,” he said.
It was put to him that he had video-taped her nude in the shower over Christmas and that she looked frightened in the video.
“No I didn’t force or scare her,” he said.
The jury had been shown mobile phone footage, which was deemed too graphic to show to the rest of the courtroom. An interpreter translated the dialogue from the video.
“How come you love him so much?” asked the defendant of Ms Pricajan a number of times.
“It’s going to be on the internet,” he told her. “You know that. You understand?”
“It’s going to be on You Tube so people can see who you are, so people can know you’re a whore,” he said.
The jury also heard from forensic scientist Dr Hilary Clarke, who found numerous areas of blood staining at the scene.
She extracted DNA from these areas and compared them with samples from both the deceased and the accused.
She said the blood staining in the bedroom was consistent with the defendant actively bleeding and with an attempt to clean up blood.
“There was diluted blood staining in the bathroom around the shower and a handprint in blood on the wall there,” she explained.
She said that two blood-stained knives were found at the scene. She found blood matching only the deceased on one and a mixture of blood from both accused and deceased on the other.
Dr Clarke also found a disassembled Nokia mobile phone at the scene.
“There was contact blood staining on the front and back of the phone and on the inside, on the battery and the sim card,” she explained. “The DNA profiles on these stains matched Mihalache Marian.”
The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven men and five women.