Wednesday 16 January 2019

Trial of woman accused of simulating suicide of housemate hear she and man were acting strangely after body was found

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

Alison O'Riordan

The trial of a 34-year-old Latvian woman, accused of simulating the suicide of her housemate in Co Cavan, has heard that she and a man were acting strangely after they found the deceased's body.

Gunars Asikis (21) today gave evidence in the Central Criminal Court trial of Egita Jaunmaize.

Ms Jaunmaize, of no fixed abode, has pleaded not guilty to impeding the apprehension or prosecution of a man, knowing or believing him to have murdered Antra Ozolina (49) or committed some other arrestable offence at The Old Post, Main Street, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan on or about June 27 or June 28 2014, both dates inclusive.

The prosecution allege that Ms Jaunmaize did without reasonable excuse place a blue cord around Ms Ozolina’s neck so as to simulate her suicide.

Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, defending, said yesterday that his client accepts that Ms Ozolina’s death was not caused by suicide and she does not dispute that another named person caused Ms Ozolina’s death.

Prosecution counsel, Mr Patrick Gageby SC, today called Mr Asikis who is originally from Latvia to give evidence to the trial. He told Mr Gageby that he lived with his mother and his sister in Kilnaleck. His mother worked for a mushroom factory and was friends with the accused.

He testified that Ms Jaunmaize and a man came to his house on Friday June 27, they were drinking and arguing in his front room. He agreed with counsel that when the accused was leaving she was very drunk and could not move much, the man was also drunk but he could move.

The court previously heard that Ms Ozolina lived in a small house, The Old Post in the village of Kilnaleck with Ms Jaunmaize and this man.

Mr Asikis said that Ms Jaunmaize and this man returned to his house at 8am on the morning of Saturday, June 28. He agreed with counsel that they were acting strangely and the man said Ms Ozolina had killed herself by hanging. The man asked him not to call Gardaí so they could talk.

They told Mr Asikis that they had been drinking with Ms Ozolina the previous night and when Ms Jaunmaize woke up the following morning, she saw a light on in Ms Ozolina’s bathroom. She went in and saw two legs and then called this man. Mr Asikis said the man told him that when he went into the bathroom he saw Ms Ozolina’s body and a rope.

The witness agreed with counsel that the accused and the man were arguing that morning in his house and they left the room more than three times to speak alone which he thought was suspicious. The man told Mr Asikis to tell Gardaí he lived in Dublin and only came to Kilnaleck once a week which worried him. He agreed with counsel that this man had a lot of money in his wallet on either June 27 or 28. Mr Asikis said he later went to the Gardaí with Ms Jaunmaize so he could translate for her but the man did not go.

Under cross examination by Mr O Lideadha, defending, Mr Asikis agreed that he was afraid of this man and scared he would hurt his family. He said he was not honest when he made his first statement to Gardaí as the man was waiting for him “outside”.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.

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