Waitress who drove man into deep har­bour loses ap­peal

The Irish Times - - Home News - RUAIDHRÍ GIBLIN

A 30-year-old woman who drove a man who loved her into a deep har­bour, where he drowned, has lost an ap­peal against her mur­der con­vic­tion.

Marta Herda, of Páirc Na Sáile, Emo­clew Road, Ark­low, Co Wick­low, knew her pas­sen­ger could not swim when she drove her Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat through the crash bar­ri­ers at South Quay, Ark­low, shortly be­fore 6am on March 26th, 2013.

Herda had pleaded not guilty to the mur­der of 31-year-old Hun­gar­ian Cs­aba Or­sos, but a jury at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court found her guilty and she was given the manda­tory life sen­tence by Mr Jus­tice Patrick McCarthy on July 28th, 2016.

The Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court heard that the Pol­ish waitress es­caped through the driver’s win­dow at the har­bour but her col­league’s body was found on a nearby beach that day. A post­mortem found Mr Or­sos died from drown­ing.

The trial heard the hand­brake had been ap­plied be­fore the car en­tered the wa­ter and only Herda’s win­dow was open.

Herda moved to ap­peal her con­vic­tion on 17 grounds. How­ever, Mr Jus­tice Alan Ma­hon re­jected all grounds of ap­peal in the Court of Ap­peal yes­ter­day.

Herda be­gan sob­bing and em­braced a num­ber of fam­ily mem­bers and friends after the judg­ment was de­liv­ered.

Speak­ing out­side court, her fam­ily in­di­cated an ap­peal to the Supreme Court was likely.

Her sis­ter Monika said: “I think this was a ridicu­lous de­ci­sion. Marta had an un­fair ver­dict in my opin­ion and in the opin­ion of our fam­ily and our friends. We are sorry about Cs­aba but what hap­pened after and now with that ver­dict is not fair for Marta. That’s why it’s not the end for now. We will wait for the Supreme Court.”

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 into the wa­ter – “he didn’t think I would do it” – con­sti­tuted an ad­mis­sion or in­fer­ence she had done so de­lib­er­ately.

The same might be said of what Herda said to a garda, after for­mal cau­tion. She said: “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. All I see is his an­gry face and scream­ing. I know that I drive to wa­ter. I could not take it any more.”

Coun­sel for the Di­rec­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions, Bren­dan Gre­han SC, said the case “really was crys­tal clear” and there sim­ply had not been the le­gal con­tro­ver­sies in the trial the de­fence were seek­ing to rely on.

“Marta Herda de­lib­er­ately drove into the sea,” Mr Gre­han said. “The car was used as an in­stru­ment of mur­der.”

‘I think this was a ridicu­lous de­ci­sion. Marta had an un­fair ver­dict . . . We are sorry about Cs­aba but what hap­pened after and now is not fair’

– Monika Herda

Marta Herda: sobbed and em­braced fam­ily mem­bers and friends after the judg­ment

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