Victim and friend brought iron bars to ‘scare’ murder accused

Two truck drivers charged with murder of Ludovit Pasztor at petrol station in Co Cork

Mariusz Osail (40) said that he and his friend Ludovit Pasztor (40) only wanted to scare truck drivers Tomasz Wasowicz (45) and Marcin Skrzypezyk (31) when they went back to confront them at the Amber filling station in Fermoy on February 21st, 2017. File photograph: Collins Courts

Mariusz Osail (40) said that he and his friend Ludovit Pasztor (40) only wanted to scare truck drivers Tomasz Wasowicz (45) and Marcin Skrzypezyk (31) when they went back to confront them at the Amber filling station in Fermoy on February 21st, 2017. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A key witness in the trial of two men charged with the murder of a 40-year-old father-of-two at a petrol station in north Cork insisted that he and the deceased only wanted to scare the accused when they returned to the scene armed with two iron bars after an earlier row with them.

Mariusz Osail (40) said that he and his friend Ludovit Pasztor (40) only wanted to scare truck drivers Tomasz Wasowicz (45) and Marcin Skrzypezyk (31) when they went back to confront them at the Amber filling station in Fermoy on February 21st, 2017.

He confirmed that they had an earlier confrontation with the two Polish truck drivers when they were leaving the petrol station after buying eight cans of beer at around 9.45pm, explaining that there had been “some unpleasant chat” between them.

Both Mr Wasowicz and Mr Skrzypezyk, who were working at the time as drivers for Macroom Haulage, denied the murder of Mr Pasztor when they were arraigned at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork earlier this week.

Mr Osail, who is from Poland, said that he and Mr Pasztor, from Hungary, had been drinking earlier in the day. When they returned to Mr Osail’s house some 300m away after buying more beer at 9.45pm, they had another drink when Mr Pasztor asked him for some bars and he pointed to some trampoline poles behind a shed.

“Ludo was insisting, he was saying it constantly and I said ‘Leave it, leave it – let’s stay at home and drink more beers’ – I don’t know why we didn’t stay at home – I don’t know, I was just drunk – I am blaming myself, I live with it all the time, I have trauma because of it all the time,” he said.

Cross-examined by Mr Skrzypezyk’s counsel Tom Creed SC, Mr Osail admitted that he felt some responsibility for Mr Pasztor’s death as they had returned to the petrol station together to confront the two accused who were in the cab of Mr Skrzypezyk’s truck.

But when Mr Creed put it to him that it was “easy to blame the dead man”, Mr Osail denied that he was blaming Mr Pasztor and he also denied a suggestion from Mr Creed that they had returned to show the two truck drivers who were “the real Polish, who are the tough guys”.

Trampoline bar

Cross-examined by Mr Wasowicz’s counsel, Tim O’Leary, Mr Osail said that he did not hit anyone with the trampoline bar and he did not see Mr Pasztor hit anyone with the bar. He could not explain how Mr Wasowicz sustained a fractured wrist or a number of other defensive wounds.

He said that he lost consciousness himself after being assaulted and when he came around and saw Mr Pasztor lying on the ground, he feared for his life as he saw one of the drivers by the cab of his truck so he threw away the iron bar before he began CPR on Mr Pasztor.

Mr O’Leary put it to Mr Osail that if he really feared for his life, then he would have kept the iron bar to protect himself and the real reason he threw it away was because he had brought it to the scene and knew that it proved that he and his friend were the aggressors but Mr Osail denied this.

“When I woke up, I noticed my friend lying here and there was a thing beside him – one of the drivers was by the cab of his truck and I was afraid they might attack us again so it was kind of instinct, I grabbed the bar and ran away to the next truck with it and threw it away,” he said.

Asked by Mr O’Leary why he told Det Garda Noel Howley that his friend was after “falling on the ground” rather than saying that he had been attacked, Mr Osail said that he was in a state of shock at the time and what he had meant to say was that he was lying on the ground. The case continues.