Friday 21 October 2016

Woman was seen 'arguing' on phone, murder trial told

Natasha Reid

Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30

Murder accused Marta Herda Photo: Collins Courts
Murder accused Marta Herda Photo: Collins Courts

The trial of a woman charged with murdering her colleague has heard that a witness noticed a woman arguing on the phone in a car shortly before the accused is alleged to have driven him into a deep harbour, where he drowned.

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Paul Hickey was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court yesterday on the second day of the trial.

Drowning victim Csaba Orsas
Drowning victim Csaba Orsas

Marta Herda (29), with an address at Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow, is charged with the murder of Csaba Orsas (31) around 6am on March 26, 2013.

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

Mr Hickey testified that he left his home for work around 5.20am that morning.

Within five minutes, he walked past a gold or silver Volkswagen Passat parked half on the Wexford Road and half in a parking space. The engine was running, he said.

He explained that this was not something he would usually notice on his way to work. He could generally count the number of cars he would see at that time on one hand.

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 that the person was female.

He said he could see her gesticulating with her hand.

He said a cyclist passed him later as he made his way through the town, and the same car with the same driver passed him soon afterwards.

"Even though it was half five in the morning, I noticed the car never overtook the bike, even though it had a chance to...That's why I really took notice."

He said the driver was still on the phone and still animated.

"It actually sounded like a heated argument," he said, explaining that the car was travelling very slowly. "I heard a loud voice."

He was asked about the tone, but said it was hard to tell "with a different language".

He said that at one stage the car pulled in for 10 to 15 seconds and he believed that the driver was still on the phone at that time.

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, he agreed that he hadn't mentioned an argument in his statement to gardaí that day, but had used the word 'animated'.

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 that she used to contact others.

Garda Michael Hall testified that, from his analysis, Ms Herda used the first phone to call other people.

He said that in the 48 hours or so before the incident, she called the deceased 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.

Irish Independent

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