The friends of convicted killer Marta Herda have claimed she feels guilt but is not guilty of murder.
The waitress (29) was jailed for life last July after a jury decided she intentionally killed Hungarian-born Csaba Orsos (31) by driving her Volkswagen Passat through the crash barrier and into the sea at South Quay, Arklow, Co Wicklow on March 26, 2013.
The jury heard that Mr Orsos was in love with her but that Herda did not return his affections, and she felt pestered and annoyed by his attention.
But now a group of her closest friends have spoken out for the first time to say that she never meant to kill Mr Orsos.
Katarzyna Bloszczyk, who is also from Poland, told Independent.ie: “She feels guilty that he has died. It is always like that and she will live with this until the end of her life that she has a crash with her car and the man does not survive but she survived. It make her sad.
“But she is not guilty of murder.”
Ms Bloszczyk (28) and two more of Marta's friends – Mariusz Bloszczyk (36) and Jakub Szwarczynski (33) – have decided to come forward because they believe that she was unfairly portrayed during her trial and in subsequent reports.
They all lived in Arklow together. Mr Bloszczyk lived with Ms Herda in the town and worked with her and Mr Orsos in Brooklodge hotel.
The group have penned a letter where they claim to describe the real Marta Herda.
They write that they are “very sorry for the event” in which Mr Orsos lost his life.
“We are full of sorrow and sympathy for the family of Csaba Orsos. We also are terribly sorry for the death of Csaba. We are grieving and full of pain.
“Marta miraculously survived this tragic accident. She was very fortunate,” they wrote. “I understand the grief of the family after the loss of a loved one, but they can not blame her for murder. There has been an accident with tragic results.”
During the trial evidence was heard that Herda believed she was being stalked by the deceased. In her statement to gardai she said Mr Orsos was dead because of his love for her. She said it was 24 hours a day and that she could not take it any more.
"People think this is, funny but not for me," she said on the day of the drowning.
She said Mr Orsos had got into her car and wanted her to drive to the beach, but he began screaming at her.
Herda said she remembered hitting the accelerator.
"I feel I have enough of this," she said. "I drive to water. I cannot take this any more."
She added that she recalled being under the water and then managed to get out of the car.
Her friends now insist that she never intended to kill Mr Orsos and they claim that the woman portrayed in evidence was not the Herda they know.
“Marta is unique, sensitive and poor woman. She liked Csaba, worried about him. Always tried to protect him.
“She felt sorry for him and wanted to help him because she knows he is unhappily in love, that he was suffering because he loved her without reciprocity.
“She never wanted to do him any harm and now she was wrongly convicted of murder.”
The friends were in court on the day the jury found her guilty and they explained that the verdict took them by surprise. They have now revealed that she intends to appeal the conviction and show Ireland that she is not a murderer.
“She does not run away from responsibility after what has happened, but she is certainly not a murderer. This judgement is not fair,” they added.
Herda is now housed in the Dochas centre on Dublin's North Circular Road. The friends say she is struggling to settle into prison life and has no friends behind bars.
"She fears to make new friends. We are her friends, we who support Marta holding hands and hug tightly."
The friends explain that they visit her every week in teh prison and her family travel over every month from Poland.
However they insist Herda is wracked with guilt since the the death in 2013.
"Marta is suffering from depression after tragic accident. She does not sleep until she fall from exhaustion. It will take a long time before she will work out her life and people need to know that she is not planned and did not do anything special to kill Csaba Orsos.
"We hope everything is revealed and this nightmare is over."