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10 Aug 2022

Murder accused went to Tipperary garda station and told garda she had killed her boyfriend

A woman on trial accused of murder went to a garda station and said that she had killed her boyfriend, telling a garda: “I stabbed him. I pushed the knife into him, come quick,” a jury has heard.

The court also heard that Inga Ozolina was "panicky and frantic" when she arrived at Roscrea Garda Station, dressed in a bathrobe and slippers, in the early hours of the morning. 

The mother-of-two had injuries which included a bite mark to her left arm, bruising to her left breast and dried blood on both knees, the court heard. 

Evidence was also given that gardai had previously been called to a domestic situation between the accused and the deceased in 2016. 

Garda Diarmuid O'Connor was giving evidence on Wednesday in the Central Criminal Court trial of Ms Ozolina (48), who is charged with murdering her boyfriend Audrius Pukas (40) over two years ago in her Co Tipperary home.

Ms Ozolina, originally from Latvia, but with an address at Old Court Church, Mounthrath, Co Laois has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Pukas at The Malthouse, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, on November 20, 2016.

The trial has previously heard that the accused and deceased were in a “tempestuous and volatile relationship” which was “violent at times” and the prosecution contends there is “no question of self-defence” in the case.

Gda O’Connor told prosecution counsel Paul Murray SC that Ms Ozolina called to the front door of Roscrea Garda Station at 2.30am on November 20 and told him: “I’ve killed my boyfriend, come quick, come quick. I stabbed him. I pushed the knife into him, come quick.”

The witness testified that Ms Ozolina was “panicky, frantic, anxious and upset” at the time. 

“I said to my colleagues that we may have a stabbing on our hands,” he explained.

Ms Ozolina followed him into the public office area of the station but he did not notice any blood on her hands, he said.

Gda O'Connor said he left the station and followed Ms Ozolina to her apartment at The Malthouse. The witness said he observed Mr Pukas lying on his back in the downstairs bedroom and he was wearing only boxer shorts. There was blood around his stomach, he added. 

In cross-examination, defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC put it to the witness that the word “stabbed” did not appear in the second entry of his handwritten notes in his notebook. 

“No, I’m not sure if its ‘stabbed or stated’,” he replied.

Ms Biggs further put it to Gda O’Connor that his first notebook entry, concerning what Ms Ozolina had said to him when she entered the garda station, may not have been a "verbatim record".

“In my opinion it is an exact record of what she said,” he replied.

In re-examination, Gda O’Connor agreed with Mr Murray that he had first recorded what Ms Ozolina had said to him in his notebook sometime after 2.36am on November 20, when he had arrived at the scene.

Following this, Mr Murray asked Gda O’Connor as to when he made the later note to himself, which was not a "verbatim account".

"That was the 20th going into the 21st," he replied. 

Garda Grainne Tully gave evidence that she was in the public office of Roscrea Garda Station on the night of November 20 and told Mr Murray that she observed Ms Ozolina in a “panicked state”.

Gda Tully testified that she was in the doctor’s room of Nenagh Garda Station later that night when the member in charge made a note of Ms Ozolina’s injuries.

There was a bite mark to her left forearm and upper arm, bruising to her left breast, bruising or a scratch mark to her left shoulder and left thigh, scratch marks on her ankles and dried blood on both knees, outlined Gda Tully.

Under cross-examination by Ms Biggs, Gda Tully agreed that Ms Ozolina had asked gardai to call an ambulance for Mr Pukas. 

The witness further agreed that Ms Ozolina had been screaming in the patrol car outside her apartment with her head in her hands and was “inconsolable and extremely agitated”. 

In cross-examination, Garda Anthony Fahy agreed with Ms Biggs that he had a previous dealing with Ms Ozolina and Mr Pukas in connection with a domestic incident in June 2016. 

The accused and the deceased were both present when he arrived at the scene, Gda Fahy said, adding that Ms Ozolina informed him at the time that she had been previously in a relationship with Mr Pukas but they were no longer together.

She had allowed him to stay in her apartment.

However, Ms Ozolina now wanted Mr Pukas to leave her apartment, Gda Fahy said. 

Gda Fahy said Mr Pukas left the apartment but continued to act in an “agitated fashion” outside. The witness said he directed that Mr Pukas leave the vicinity and he enforced the Public Order Act.

Gda Fahy further agreed with Ms Biggs that he was called to an incident in a house in Roscrea in October 2013, which involved Mr Pukas and another woman.

Gda Fahy said he believed this other woman to be Mr Pukas’ wife or partner. Mr Pukas was intoxicated and the other woman was distressed with injuries to her face and blood coming from her “crotch area”, the court heard.

The witness accepted that Mr Pukas was "arrogant" and he had asked him to leave the scene. 

Detective Garda Stuart Beatty told Mr Murray that he arrived at The Malthouse at 3.35am on November 20 and noted a smell of alcohol coming from Ms Ozolina. 

After arresting Ms Ozolina on suspicion of the murder of Mr Pukas, they drove to Nenagh Garda Station where she was deemed unfit to be interviewed for six hours, he said.

The witness said that when Ms Ozolina was charged with assaulting Mr Pukas on November 21, she replied: “I disagree with this charge, I did not assault this man. We did have a fight, I acted in self-defence.”

A file was sent to the DPP and Ms Ozolina was later charged with murdering Mr Pukas, the court heard.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury of seven men and five women.

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