Murder accused had to 'fight for her life' after car crashed into sea

Marta Herda
Marta Herda

A woman charged with murdering her colleague by driving him into a harbour, where he drowned, told gardai that she had to ‘fight for my life’ under the water.

Portions of her garda interviews were played to the Central Criminal Court yesterday on the tenth day of her trial.

Marta Herda of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow is accused of the murder of 31-year-old Csaba Orsos on March 26, 2013.

The 29-year-old Polish waitress has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Hungarian at South Quay, Arklow.

Both had been in Ms Herda’s car when it went into the water that morning. Ms Herda escaped at the harbour but Mr Orsos’ body was found on a nearby beach later that day.

The prosecution played the excerpts from her garda interviews yesterday, following the cross examination of her interviewer, Detective Sergeant Fergus O’Brien.

She had told the gardai that they had been fighting in the car as they approached the harbour in her car.

“He was screaming. I want him to stop,” she said on the video.

“We hit the barrier. Then I get the shock and look at him,” she continued. “I said a word. He said some word as well and water was already…”

She said it was dark.

“Since that, I don't remember nothing. I’m feeling that I’m not in the car. I’m in the water,” she said.

“I was trying to, like this, all the time to get out of the water and I couldn’t,” she said, gesturing. “I tried harder and harder. Then I feel something on my feet.”

She said she lost her shoes and sweater.

“I was screaming his name, but I knew there was no air,” she continued.

“The waves were taking me down and up, down and up,” she explained. “I had to fight for my life.”

She said she had tried to swim to some stones, but couldn’t catch them and that the waves had taken her again.

“I knew there was nobody there. I knew there was no point screaming and to save my strength for swimming,” she said. “I don’t believe I have to say goodbye. I didn’t have time to say goodbye.”

She said she was ‘so tired’ and the water was getting in her eyes, so she closed them.

“I knew I couldn’t swim anymore. My eyes were closed and the water take me down. I couldn’t feel anything,” she continued. “Then, I can’t remember anything and the next thing I remember, I was walking and it was dark.”

D Sgt O’Brien remarked that it was a fairly horrific story.

“That must have been a terrible experience,” he said.

“Yes,” she replied.

“I nearly felt I was in the water myself with you,” he said. “Christ almighty, that was an awful escapade in that water.”

The trial has heard that the accused and deceased had worked together, that he was in love with her, but that she didn’t feel the same way. She told gardai he had spent two years following her, phoning her and sending her text messages.

The detective sergeant had been asked by the defence what he thought she meant when she said in her initial statement: ‘When I drove into the water, I wanted this all to stop’.

“She wanted it to stop, all the phone calls and text messages she was getting,” testified D Sgt O’Brien.

Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, defending, suggested that she was describing what was happening in the car when she said she wanted it to stop.

“I suppose, yes, it’s one interpretation,” said the witness.

Mr O Lideadha suggested that she wasn’t saying that she ‘did this’ to stop the texts over the two years.

“But, you think it’s open to that interpretation,” said the barrister.

“Yes,” he replied, explaining that this was a five-minute segment out of nine hours of interviews.

“That’s my interpretation. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong,” continued the sergeant. “It’s for others to interpret.”

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.