COURT

Tipperary murder accused washed knife with which boyfriend was stabbed ‘without looking’

 Natasha Reid

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Natasha Reid

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news@nationalist.ie

Tipperary murder accused washed knife that stabbed boyfriend ‘without looking’

Tipperary murder accused Inga Ozolina washed knife with which boyfriend was stabbed ‘without looking’

A woman accused of murdering her boyfriend told gardai that she had washed the knife she had been holding during the fatal fight with him without looking or realising there was blood on it.

Her trial heard that the knife was found by gardai in a kitchen drawer and showed, under magnification, three specks of blood matching the deceased’s.

The evidence was heard on Friday 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, Mountrath, Co Laois, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Audrius Pukas at The Malthouse, Roscrea, County Tipperary, on November 20, 2016. He died from a stab wound to his chest.

Forensic Scientist John Hoade testified that he examined a knife seized from Ms Ozolina’s kitchen. The court already heard that it was found in the cutlery drawer. He took it out of its protective case and held it up for the court and jury. He explained to Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, that he had found light blood staining on its 21cm-long blade. The blood’s DNA profile matched that of the deceased.

“They were three very small specs of blood,” he said, explaining that he had used magnification in his exam. “I imagine it would be very difficult to see with the naked eye.”

He agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that this was the knife described by Ms Ozolina in her garda interviews. The accused said she had grabbed the knife after her boyfriend started hitting and biting her and that he had tried to wrestle it out of her hand before he retreated.

Detective Garda Stuart Beatty then gave evidence of an interview in which she was asked why this knife was so clean when found.

“I threw it in the sink and then naturally I realised there was blood on my hand,” she said, adding that this was ‘a tiny bit’ and that she could have scratched herself.

“So, I washed my hand, a few forks and something else,” she continued. “I could have washed that knife as well. I did not look. I threw it into the sink.”

She was asked how she would not see blood on the knife. “I was concentrating on my hands,” she replied.

She was asked about the knife causing her boyfriend’s wounds. “While he was biting me, I could have made a reflex motion towards somewhere,” she said. “I could have hit him with the knife. It was just a reflex.”

She said that fights had ‘happened so many times before’, knives had been produced and chairs had gone flying. She said she had used a knife to defend herself before but that he hadn’t previously tried to take it off her.

“I was in pain. It was a reflex. I didn't think where the knife was going,” she added. “I could not control my arm. He’s a male, stronger than me. Why are you torturing me?”

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