A Central Criminal Court jury has been told that a car driven into the sea in Arklow, Co Wicklow in 2013 was used 'as an instrument of murder'.
Prosecutor Brendan Grehan SC was giving his closing speech in the trial of Marta Herda (29) who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering her colleague Csaba Orsos (31) by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned.
Both had been in a car belonging to Ms Herda, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, when it went into the water on the morning of March 26th, 2013 at South Quay, Arklow.
Ms Herda escaped from the harbour but Mr Orsos’ body was found on a nearby beach later that day. The court heard the pair worked together and Mr Orsos was in love with Ms Herda, but she did not feel the same way.
She told gardaí the deceased spent two years following her, phoning her and sending her messages.
Mr Grehan said the prosecution’s contention was that Ms Herda had deliberately driven into the water. Whether this was a premeditated or “spur of the moment” decision was “ irrelevant” as the intention for murder could be formed at the time, he said.
Mr Grehan said the prosecution’s case relied to a large extent on circumstantial evidence. “In this case it’s the prosecution’s contention that a car driven into the sea was used, in effect, as an instrument of murder.”
He said that, as well as having the facts, the jury could draw inferences. He noted that Mr Orsos’ front door was found open after the incident which suggested he was someone who “must not have intended to go away, but must have intended to come back in”.
He said the CCTV evidence showed Ms Herda’s car driving from the direction of her home towards where Mr Orsos lived at about 5.30am that day. Mr Grehan said phone evidence showed that Ms Herda rang the deceased three times that morning. “She’s last on the phone to Csaba Orsos at 5.37am,” he said.
The prosecutor noted that a nightwatchmen heard a car driving at speed down the quays around 5.50am. “Within a very short piece of time, 15 minutes at tops, maybe even less, she’s speaking to him by phone and he’s in the water, never to come back,” he said. “That timeframe is very important.”
Mr Grehan noted that the driver’s window was the only one down and reminded the jury that Ms Herda was found soaking wet in very light clothing on a day when it was snowing.
He also pointed out that Ms Herda was a good swimmer and knew that Csaba Orsos could not swim.
He then moved on to Marta Herda’s own words.
“He shouldn’t have been there. I drove the car into the water,” she told a paramedic that morning.
“He didn’t think I’d do it,” she told a nurse.
Mr Grehan read out the two statements Ms Herda made to gardaí.
“Csaba came to my car. He wanted to talk,” she said. “He told me to drive to the beach. He was angry all the time shouting… I drove fast… I remember I turn and not go for beach. I remember I hit accelerator. I think I have enough of this. I have enough him. I can no longer take this.”
Mr Grehan said that one of the key questions in the case was how Mr Orsos came to be in the car with Ms Herda.
“There is such a convenient loss of memory as to that critical matter,” he said. “She claimed to the gardaí that she can’t remember how he came to be in her car or even phoning him, but she can remember everything up to that.”
He said the prosecution case was that she acted with deliberate intent when she drove off the pier and asked for a verdict of guilty of murder.
The jury will hear from the defence on Thursday.