Pier killer sobs af ter re­jec­tion of mur­der ap­peal bid

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Rúaidhrí Gi­b­lin news@dai­ly­mail.ie

A WO­MAN who drove a man who loved her into a deep har­bour, where he drowned, has lost on all 17 grounds of her ap­peal against her con­vic­tion for mur­der.

Pol­ish na­tional Marta Herda, 30, sobbed and em­braced fam­ily mem­bers and friends af­ter the judg­ment at the three­judge Court of Ap­peal.

Af­ter­wards, Herda’s sis­ter Monika said: ‘I think this was a ridicu­lous de­ci­sion. We are sorry about [vic­tim] Cs­aba but what hap­pened af­ter and now with that ver­dict is not fair for Marta. That’s why it’s not the end. We will wait for the Supreme Court.’

Herda, of Páirc Na Sáile, Emo­clew Road, Ark­low, Co. Wick­low, knew her pas­sen­ger, 31-year-old Hun­gar­ian man Cs­aba Or­sos, could not swim when she drove her Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat through the crash bar­ri­ers at South Quay, Ark­low, shortly be­fore 6am on March 26, 2013.

In July last year, a jury at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court found her guilty and she was given the manda­tory life sen­tence.

The court heard that the Pol­ish wait­ress es­caped through the driver’s win­dow but her col­league’s body was found on a beach later that day. A post-mortem found that Or­sos died from drown­ing and not in­juries re­lated ‘Not fair’: Herda’s sis­ter Monika to the crash. The trial heard that the hand­brake had been ap­plied be­fore the car en­tered the water and that the only open win­dow was the driver’s.

Herda ap­pealed on 17 grounds, broadly in­clud­ing the is­sue of reck­less­ness; whether or not the driv­ing into the river was ac­ci­den­tal or de­lib­er­ate; if it was de­lib­er­ate, whether ‘as­sault man­slaugh­ter’ was still open to the jury; ‘al­leged con­fes­sions’ and the judge’s charge to the jury in re­gard to cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence.

Although she did not give ev­i­dence her­self, her coun­sel, Gi­ol­laíosa Ó Lideadha SC, said Herda as­serted at all times that this was a ter­ri­ble ac­ci­dent, that she did not de­lib­er­ately drive into the water and that her com­mand of English was a mat­ter of great im­por­tance.

She claimed to have lit­tle or no rec­ol­lec­tion of events lead­ing up to driv­ing into the water, in­clud­ing how the de­ceased came to be in her car and that as­pects of state­ments made af­ter the in­ci­dent, and an­other months later, did not con­vey in­for­ma­tion which the pros­e­cu­tion said they did.

Mr Jus­tice Alan Ma­hon said it was dif­fi­cult to see how the trial judge’s in­struc­tions to the jury in re­la­tion to mur­der/man­slaugh­ter could have been clearer. He said it was ‘fan­ci­ful’ to sug­gest that driv­ing a car off a har­bour pier into deep water at speed was de­lib­er­ate, but at the same time was not in­tended to kill or cause se­ri­ous in­jury to Mr Or­sos.

Mr Jus­tice Ma­hon said it was ar­guable, if not likely, that words at­trib­uted by a nurse to Herda to the ef­fect that Mr Or­sos did not be­lieve she would drive the car into the water (‘he didn’t think I would do it’) con­sti­tuted an ad­mis­sion or an in­fer­ence that she had done so de­lib­er­ately.

She also said to a garda, af­ter for­mal cau­tion: ‘I re­mem­ber I turn and not go for beach. I re­mem­ber I hit ac­cel­er­a­tor and I think I have enough of this, I have enough of him, I can no longer take this.’

Mr Jus­tice Ma­hon said there was no re­quire­ment for a cor­rob­o­ra­tion warn­ing ‘as the con­fes­sion ev­i­dence (if in­deed it amount to such) was not with­out cor­rob­o­ra­tion’. Firstly, he said both state­ments could cor­rob­o­rate each other and ad­di­tional ev­i­dence of cor­rob­o­ra­tion could be found in the speed of the ve­hi­cle as it drove through the har­bour area and, pos­si­bly, the use of the hand­brake.

‘We will wait for the Supreme Court’

Marta Herda: ‘Knew her pas­sen­ger could not swim’

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