Woman's suicide was simulated after she was choked to death, court hears
A Latvian woman has gone on trial accused of simulating the suicide of a housemate to make it look like her death was not suspicious.
Egita Jaunmaize (34), of no fixed abode, is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Roman Ponomarcus, 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.
The prosecution alleges Ms Jaunmaize placed a blue cord around Ms Ozolina's neck to simulate her suicide, in order to make it more difficult to establish her death was suspicious. Ms Jaunmaize has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Opening the prosecution case at the Central Criminal Court, Patrick Gageby SC said widow Ms Ozolina lived with Ms Jaunmaize and the accused's boyfriend, Mr Ponomarcus.
Ms Ozolina was found deceased in an en-suite bedroom in The Old Post. The upper part of Ms Ozolina's body was in the shower tray, her face was blue and swollen and a nylon-type rope was around her neck.
Mr Gageby said Ms Ozolina's death was not deemed to be suspicious at that stage, but this changed shortly after.
The jury were told Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found evidence of blunt force injury to Ms Ozolina's head and face and determined her cause of death was neck compression.
The evidence was that Ms Ozolina had not died by hanging herself, Mr Gageby said.
Mr Gageby said Ms Jaunmaize originally told gardaí she had a row with Ms Ozolina on the evening of June 27 and found her housemate's body the following morning.
Ms Jaunmaize ultimately told gardaí she had observed her boyfriend take Ms Ozolina by the neck and he choked her to death using his forearm.
Mr Ponomarcus asked her to put a rope around Ms Ozolina's neck, with a view to showing this was suicide and not murder, said Mr Gageby.
The trial continues.