Monday 5 December 2016

Marta Herda trial: Waitress gets life for colleague’s murder

Marta Herda (29) killed man who was in love with her by driving her car into harbour

Alan O'Keeffe, Conor Feehan and Natasha Reid

Published 29/07/2016 | 02:30

A tearful Martha Herda is charged with murder in 2014. Picture: Garry O'Neill
A tearful Martha Herda is charged with murder in 2014. Picture: Garry O'Neill

Cold-blooded Marta Herda has been convicted of murdering the man who was in love with her by driving a car at high speed into a deep harbour.

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The 29-year-old woman - who was a good swimmer and aware her passenger could not swim - has been sentenced to life in prison.

Victim Csaba Orsos
Victim Csaba Orsos

She was convicted of killing Csaba Orsos (31) by driving her Volkswagen Passat through the crash barrier at South Quay, Arklow on March 26, 2013.

The jury heard that Mr Orsos was in love with her. Herda told gardaí that she didn't feel the same way, and that he had spent two years following her, phoning and messaging her.

A post-mortem found that Mr Orsos died from drowning and not from injuries related to the crash. The court heard that only the driver's window was open.

The Polish waitress of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow was charged with murdering the Hungarian man, who she worked with at BrookLodge Hotel. She pleaded not guilty and went on trial at the Central Criminal Court earlier this month. But the eight men and four women of the jury found her guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one.

The scene at the South Quay, Arklow, Wicklow, after the crash. Picture: Garry O'Neill
The scene at the South Quay, Arklow, Wicklow, after the crash. Picture: Garry O'Neill

Emotion

Herda showed no emotion as the registrar read out the verdict, but became emotional when the court rose for a number of minutes before sentencing. She wept uncontrollably as Mr Justice McCarthy signalled for her to stand while he imposed the mandatory life sentence.

Throughout the trial, the court heard evidence that a security guard had heard the car coming at speed from the town shortly before 6am on the morning of March 26. He then saw and heard a woman screaming as she ran towards the town. This was Marta Herda and the gardaí found her soaking wet and frothing at the mouth a short time later. She told them that there was someone in the water and that they had to help.

She later told a garda that Mr Orsos was dead because of his love for her. She said it was 24 hours a day and that she couldn't take it anymore.

Brother of Csaba Orsos, Zoltan Sandro, speaks to the media at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after the verdict. Pic Collins Courts.
Brother of Csaba Orsos, Zoltan Sandro, speaks to the media at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after the verdict. Pic Collins Courts.

"People think this funny but not for me," she said on the day of the drowning.

She said that he had got into her car and wanted her to drive to the beach, but that he began screaming at her. She said she remembered hitting the accelerator.

"I feel I have enough of this," she said. "I drive to water. I cannot take this anymore."

She said she recalled being under the water and then managed to get out. In his closing speech, the prosecutor said her car was used 'as an instrument of murder'.

The brother of Csaba Orsos said that his heart was "ripped apart" when his brother was murdered. Zoltan Sandor said he received a call from Marta's ex-boyfriend who broke the news about the horrific crash on March 26. Mr Sandor said that he will always remember when he had to identify his brother.

"It will stay with me forever. He was so cold. I would have never thought that this way I have to say goodbye to him. Sometimes because of the pain in my chest I want to scream," he said.

Mr Sandor tried to explain how Csaba had loved Herda.

"He asked me many times, 'What I do, fight for the love or not?' and the first time I said to him yes, why not," said Zoltan.

But then Mr Sandor saw how Herda behaved around other men, and even though she had shunned Csaba, she would still give him affection.

"It was her who would touch him and rub his shoulder and say 'Hi Csaba, how are you' and I think she wanted to show for him that maybe they have a small chance, and maybe my brother believed that as well.

"I told my brother to leave it alone, to stop believing it, but he was in love with her," he said.

Despite the trial, and the guilty verdict, Zoltan still has many unanswered questions.

"We never thought it come to this. She had other ways to stop him loving her, why kill him?

"Why did she do it? Why did she not stop the car? This was a killing, what else can it be? Many people have problems with their boyfriends or girlfriends and there is shouting or something, but nothing like this. To say 'I drove into the river and I can't remember anything'. It is not natural."

Mr Sandor said that his brother had wanted to move to Ireland from Hungary to build a better life.

"But he met her and we don't know what happened. We will never forget him," he said.

Mr Sandor said that his son Milan repeatedly asks him why he cried. He said that he couldn't return to his job at Brooklodge as everything reminded him of his brother. He returned to his native Hungary where he collected rubbish in a train station for money for food for his family. He thanked God that he got a stable job after a couple of months. He said that he and his siblings rarely talked about their brother. "Everybody is suffering in silence," he said.

Mr Sandor said that he was afraid of water and that he felt sick to think that his brother had drowned. He said he had gone for a walk along the river in Dublin, but had to cross the road because he was afraid.

"I can't swim and I regret it for all my life because while the emergency services were looking for Csaba I couldn't do anything," he said.

Irish Independent

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