Saturday 21 April 2018

Mum-of-one jailed for staging her housemate's suicide to 'impede murder investigation'

Egita Jaunmaize. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Egita Jaunmaize. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Natasha Reid

A mother of one has been sentenced to three years in prison for staging her housemate’s suicide in order to impede the prosecution of the man, who strangled her.

The judge took into account the fact that the accused was ‘one of life’s victims’ and in an abusive relationship with the killer at the time.

That man, whom the judge said ‘could undoubtedly be described as the murderer’, was never charged. This was due to his limited brain function arising out of an injury sustained months later while fleeing gardaí after a car he had hijacked crashed. A self-confessed neo-nazi, he is currently living in a care facility, where he is spoon fed.

However, his 34-year-old former partner was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury earlier this month. She was found guilty of impeding the killer's apprehension or prosecution, knowing or believing him to have murdered Antra Ozolina (49).

Egita Jaunmaize, of no fixed abode, admitted placing a blue cord around her fellow Latvian’s neck so as to simulate her suicide in order to make it more difficult to establish that her death was suspicious.

She had pleaded not guilty to carrying out the offence, without reasonable excuse, at their home at The Old Post, Main Street, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan on or about June 27 or June 28 2014. The mushroom picker told gardaí that she was in fear for her life and acting on her boyfriend’s orders at the time, having just seen him strangle Ms Ozolina.

Antra Ozolina was found dead with a rope around her neck. Picture: Lorraine Teevan
Antra Ozolina was found dead with a rope around her neck. Picture: Lorraine Teevan

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted that the authorities’ initial view was that the deceased had taken her own life, but that suspicion grew and tests were sought.

“She was a lady, who had appeared happy in herself, had family, and there was no indication that she had any suicidal ideation,” noted the judge.

The trial heard that a forensic autopsy showed that the deceased had sustained blunt force injuries, as well as the fatal asphyxia.

The judge accepted that the accused woman's involvement had sprung from her relationship with the assailant.

“There’s little doubt but that, on perusal of the psychiatrist’s and psychologist’s reports, her relationship with the assailant, the man who could undoubtedly be described as the murderer, was an abusive one,” he said, adding that the aggression had been extreme.

He said the accused might be described as a vulnerable person, noting evidence that this was due to her being the victim of a violent crime as a child.

“Notwithstanding the abusive nature of the relationship, the jury held her fully responsible for her actions,” he noted.

However, he pointed out that that sentencing was a subjective matter and he therefore had regard to the fact that she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and was ‘one of life’s victims so to speak’.

He took into account her lack of a previous criminal record and the fact that she had worked hard in Ireland, as well as ‘certain vulnerabilities of temperament and of personality’.

He said that the true suffering of the deceased woman’s family could be attributable only to the death itself and that the impeding offence could not be regarded as having a significant effect.

He noted that the maximum penalty was 10 years in prison, but imposed a custodial sentence of three years, backdated to February 22 2017.

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