Waitress who drove man into deep harbour loses appeal
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