Thursday 21 September 2017

Man loses appeal against conviction for murdering ex-girlfriend

Mihalache Marian
Mihalache Marian

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Romanian man has lost an appeal against conviction for murdering his ex-girlfriend in a Sandyford hotel room five years ago.

Mihalache Marian (53), with an address in Romania, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his ex-girlfriend Loradena Pricajan in a bedroom at the Irish Management Institute in Sandyford on January 27 2010.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court found Marian guilty and he was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Carney on January 28 2010.

Marian failed to have his conviction overturned in the Court of Appeal today on the single ground that the jury's verdict was perverse and did not accord with the weight and balance of evidence.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan said Marian and Ms Pricajan had both come from Romania. They had been together for 13 years.

Mr Justice Ryan said the prosecution's case was that the relationship was either at an end or severely threatened because of Ms Pricajan's new boyfriend.

Marian claimed Ms Pricajan had committed suicide, that she caused him injury resulting in him losing consciousness and he could not remember what happened subsequent to losing consciousness in the hotel room.

She died from two cut-throat wounds to the neck, the court heard.

Mr Justice Ryan said the possibility that Ms Pricajan committed suicide seemed on the face of it to be “not only improbable or unlikely” but in the words of the pathologist “infinitely unlikely”.

He said it seemed there was more than sufficient circumstantial evidence on which the jury could reach the verdict of guilty beyond reasonable doubt - that Marian committed the murder with which he was charged, the judge said.

Relevant to the circumstantial evidence was a timeline of events, Mr Justice Ryan said.

Sometime around 2009, Ms Pricajan met Mr Christian Cirvu in Romania. In or about June their relationship deepened and became intimate, the judge said.

On Christmas Eve 2009, Marian was visiting and staying with Ms Pricajan in Dublin and on Christmas Day in a Skype telephone call to Ms Pricajan, Marian introduced himself and invited Mr Cirvu to join them in Dublin for Christmas and the new year, the judge said.

On the third of January 2010 footage form Ms Pricajan's mobile phone recorded a conversation in which Marian asked her how many times she had gone to Brussells and how she could love another man so much.

He referred to putting the footage on the internet so everyone would 'know she was a whore', the judge said.

On January 25 Marian checked into the IMI in Sandyford for a three night stay. Later that day he called Ms Pricajan's mother saying he loved her but she had betrayed him and she was a whore. He referred to Ms Pricajan's mother joining her daughter in heaven, the judge said.

Two days later, on January 27, Ms Pricajan had finished the late shift working in a nursing home. She got a second bus home to Sandyford where Marian had been waiting for her.

At 10:06am that morning Marian and Ms Pricajan were seen entering the hotel room.

There was no demonstration of control or fear shown by Marian over the deceased, the judge said. At 10:36 the 'do not disturb' sign was placed on the door.

The following morning, the night porter picked up a voice mail message from the room. He found Marian lying on the floor in his underwear. He noticed the shower door was open and there was blood on the floor.

Ms Pricajan was lying face down on the bed in her underwear.

The following morning on January 28, gardaí found at the scene Ms Pricajan's body. It was stiff and cold and there were two knives present – a 5 inch knife on which there were dried blood stains and a black plastic 3 inch knife.

Her neck so severely cut that it not only caused massive haemorrhage but it had gone down to the bone causing injury to the spine.

Marian was taken to hospital and the following day he was arrested and charged with murder. It took the jury of seven men and five women one hour-and-a-quarter to find him guilty.

Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, accordingly dismissed the appeal.

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