COURT

Tipperary murder accused had deceased saved in her mobile phone as 'sadist'

Alison O' Riordan

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Alison O' Riordan

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news@nationalist.ie

Tipperary murder accused had deceased saved in her mobile phone as 'sadist'

A woman living in County Tipperary accused of murdering her boyfriend told gardai that the deceased was saved in her mobile phone as “sadist” because they had so many fights in the past, a trial has heard.

The mother-of-two also said that she took a knife from the kitchen worktop in order to protect herself as she was afraid he might kill her after they got into a fight.

The jury was watching a garda interview on Wednesday in the Central Criminal Court trial of a 48-year-old woman, charged with murdering her 40-year-old boyfriend in her County Tipperary home.

Inga 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, County Tipperary, on November 20, 2016. He died from a stab wound to his chest.

Detective Garda Stuart Beatty told prosecution counsel Frank Quirke BL that he and a colleague had interviewed the accused later that day in Nenagh Garda Station.

Ms Ozolina told gardai in her interview that Mr Pukas’ number was saved in her mobile phone as “sadist” because they had so many fights in the past. “He treating me like a sadist. I couldn’t show up to work on one occasion. I lied to my manager and said I fell down,” she explained.

The accused said she was taking food out of the oven at 1am on the night when Mr Pukas grabbed her by the hair. Following this, he began hitting and biting her, the accused said.
 
Ms Ozolina said that she took a “regular kitchen knife with a timber-handle” from the kitchen worktop in order to defend herself. “He came very close so I think the knife touched him and he flinched back,” she said, adding that Mr Pukas continued to hold her by the left arm.

The knife could have touched him “somewhere in the shoulder area” or elsewhere, she said, adding that he was trying to take the knife off her at the time.   

The accused said Mr Pukas was acting “insane” at the time and told gardai that she was afraid if he took the knife off her, he might kill her. “That’s why I was holding the knife tightly,” she added.

Ms Ozolina said that her boyfriend could have been in pain at the time but as he was wearing a dressing gown she did not see any blood.

The accused said that she only applied force to the handle of the knife when Mr Pukas tried to take the knife off her.

Gardai asked Ms Ozolina if she accepted that the injuries Mr Pukas received from the knife were caused by her pointing the knife at him. “I think if he didn’t try to twist my arm he would never have got injured and got caught with the knife,” she replied.

Ms Ozolina also told gardai that she only took the knife to protect herself. “I did not go towards him, he came up to me. If there was a spoon lying on the kitchen surface I would have taken the spoon to protect myself,” she explained.

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

Evidence has also been given that Ms Ozolina went to a garda station in the early hours of the morning and said that she had killed her boyfriend, telling a garda: “I stabbed him. I pushed the knife into him, come quick."

Ms Ozolina told gardai that she had injuries which included two bite marks on her arm as well as bruising to her upper thigh and breast.

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