Tuesday 27 September 2016

Car driven off quay 'an instrument of murder', court hears

Natasha Reid

Published 21/07/2016 | 02:30

Marta Herda Photo: Collins Courts
Marta Herda Photo: Collins Courts

A car driven into a harbour was used as "an instrument of murder", a court was told.

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The prosecutor was giving his closing speech yesterday in the trial of a woman accused of murdering her colleague by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned.

Csaba Orsos
Csaba Orsos

Marta Herda, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow, is charged with the murder of 31-year-old Csaba Orsos on March 26, 2013.

The 29-year-old Polish waitress has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Hungarian at South Quay, Arklow.

Both had been in Ms Herda's car when it went into the water that morning. Ms Herda escaped at the harbour but Mr Orsos's body was found on a nearby beach later that day.

They had worked together; he was in love with her, but she didn't feel the same way. She told gardaí he had spent two years following her, phoning her and sending her messages.

Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, said that the prosecution's contention was simple and straightforward, that Ms Herda had deliberately driven into the water.

"Whether she did it on the spur of the moment or thought about it beforehand is irrelevant," he said, explaining that the intention for murder could be formed at the time.

"Someone overheating, losing the run of themselves can commit murder," he explained.

He said that the prosecution case relied to a large extent on circumstantial evidence.

"In this case, it's the prosecution's contention that a car driven into the sea was used, in effect, as an instrument of murder," he said.

He said that, as well as having the facts, the jury could draw inferences. "If you see a door wide open in a house in the early hours of a morning, you might well think that person, whenever they went out through the door, must not have intended to go away, but must have intended to come back in," he said.

The court heard that Mr Orsos's front door was found open after the incident.

He said the CCTV evidence showed Ms Herda's car driving from the direction of her home towards the area where Mr Orsos lived at around 5.30am. It was not in dispute that Ms Herda was the driver and was alone. He said the next footage was captured at 6am near the lifeboat station. It showed a woman from the direction of the harbour wall.

He said that critical phone evidence showed that Ms Herda rang the deceased three times that morning. He noted a nightwatchman heard a car driving at speed down the quays at around 5.50am.

"Within a short piece of time, 15 minutes at tops, maybe even less, she's speaking to him by phone and he's in the water, never to come back," he said. "That time frame is very important."

He noted that the driver's window was the only one down.He pointed out that Ms Herda was a good swimmer and knew that Csaba Orsos could not swim.

He pointed to photographs of "the demolition" of two harbour barriers. "The damage to the barriers suggests a car going at speed in one direction, into the cold and dark Avoca river at that hour of the night with a man she knew couldn't swim," he said. He said the prosecution case was that she acted with deliberate intent when she drove off the pier and asked for a verdict of guilty of murder.

The jury will hear from the defence this morning.

Irish Independent

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