07 Aug 2022

Woman's murder trial hears man found dead with blood around his armpit

laois roscrea

Court of Appeal, Dublin

The trial of a woman who lives in Laois and is accused of murdering her boyfriend by stabbing him in the chest has heard that a garda found the deceased lying on his back with blood around his left armpit when he arrived at the scene.

 The jury was also shown CCTV footage of the accused, who was dressed in a bathrobe and slippers, arriving at a garda station at 2.30am on the morning of the incident. 

Sergeant Tony Hanrahan was giving evidence on Friday in the Central Criminal Court trial of Inga Ozolina (48), who is charged with murdering her boyfriend Audrius Pukas (43) over two years ago in her Co Tipperary home.

Ms Ozolina, originally from Latvia, but with an address at Old Court Church, Mountrath, 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.

Giving evidence today, Sgt Hanrahan told prosecution counsel Paul Murray SC that he was on duty in Roscrea Garda Station on the night in question when Ms Ozolina came to the door.

Sgt Hanrahan testified that his colleague spoke to the accused. Following this, Sgt Hanrahan and two other gardai went to Ms Ozolina’s home in Roscrea.

The witness said he was brought by the accused to the rear door of her apartment at The Malthouse, where Ms Ozolina gave him her keys. The witness unlocked the door and entered the property while the accused stayed outside.

Sgt Hanrahan testified that he saw Mr Pukas lying on his back on the floor of a downstairs bedroom when he opened the door. He was wearing only underwear and there was no movement, he explained.

The witness said he approached Mr Pukas’ body and felt for a pulse but could not detect one.

There was blood around his left armpit as well as on the bed sheets, he said, adding that his body was still warm.

Following this, Sgt Hanrahan went outside the apartment and noticed blood on Ms Ozolina’s calf muscle on her lower leg. The witness asked his colleague to bring the accused to the patrol car.

Paramedics later arrived and advised Sgt Hanrahan that the injuries sustained by Mr Pukas were incompatible with life, the court heard. 

Ms Ozolina was arrested on suspicion of murder at 3.43am that morning and brought to Nenagh Garda Station.

Under cross-examination by Caroline Biggs SC, defending, Sgt Hanrahan agreed that he had previously made a statement that Ms Ozolina was in a very distressed state at the time.

The witness further agreed that a yellow blood-stained t-shirt and dressing robe were located adjacent to Mr Pukas’ body in the bedroom.

Paramedic Ronan Wall gave evidence that he arrived at the scene at 2.50am and found a male lying in the bedroom of the apartment. No pulse was found and he noted a wound to his left armpit, the court heard.

Mr Wall said he asked Ms Ozolina if she required medical assistance and she replied “no”.

Earlier, CCTV footage was shown to the jury of Ms Ozolina arriving at Roscrea Garda Station on November 20 at 2.30am.

Sgt Hanrahan agreed with Mr Murray that Ms Ozolina can be seen “alighting” from her car and making her way in a “hurried fashion” to the front door of the garda station.

Ms Ozolina is wearing a bathrobe and a pair of slippers, the court heard. 

The witness pointed out in the footage that Ms Ozolina speaks with Gda Diarmaid O’Connor before she followed him and another garda outside.

Sgt Hanrahan said that Ms Ozolina got into her car and drove in the direction of The Malthouse. She is followed by two gardai in their patrol car, the court heard.

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

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