Suspect in Cavan murder case being spoon fed in hospital after injury during high-speed Garda car chase

By Natasha Reid

The suspect in a Cavan murder investigation is currently being spoon fed due to a traumatic brain injury sustained while trying to escape gardaí after hijacking a car months later.

The detail of why he has not been charged came to light at the Central Criminal Court today during the trial of a mushroom picker, accused of impeding his prosecution for the killing by simulating the suicide of her housemate almost four years ago.

The 34-year-old Latvian woman is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of the man, knowing or believing him to have murdered Antra Ozolina (aged 49) or committed some other arrestable offence.

It is alleged that Egita Jaunmaize placed a blue cord around Ms Ozolina’s neck so as to simulate her suicide in order to make it more difficult to establish that her death was suspicious.

The mother of one, of no fixed abode, accepts that Ms Ozolina’s death was not caused by suicide and does not dispute that another named person caused it.

However, she has pleaded not guilty to carrying out the impeding offence at their home at The Old Post, Main Street, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan on or about June 27 or June 28 2014. She told gardaí that she was in fear for her life at the time and acting on the orders of her housemate’s killer.

Egita Jaunmaize.

Detective Garda James McDevitt testified yesterday that the male suspect had also been arrested after the killing, but denied the allegations put to him in interview.

He agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that his general appearance and posture had been "brazen".

He agreed that this man had said that, had he killed someone, he would hardly be telling the interviewers.

The man, who is now 31, had openly admitted to choking a woman, who had given a statement as part of the murder investigation. He said that she had accused him of being a "fag", suggesting he was homosexual. He argued that going for her throat was what any man would do, and said that he did it to "scare the sh*t out of her".

The detective agreed that the man had convictions for racist, neo-nazi offences in his native Latvia. He also had convictions for robberies there, one using the threat of a gun, and two using the threat of a knife.

He had been in custody until six months before he moved to Ireland, but had breached his release conditions by moving here, and a European arrest warrant had been issued for him.

The detective also explained why this man was not before the courts, charged in connection with the Cavan killing. He referred to an incident in Longford on October 29, 2014.

He said that the alleged killer and another man had staked out a local business woman and held her at knife point. They bundled her into the back of a car, with the alleged killer saying: "Get in, b*tch".

The other male drove, while the alleged killer sat in the backseat with his leg pressed up against the woman’s neck.

The gardaí pursued the car, while the men threatened the woman and demanded money.

The hijacked car crashed and the alleged killer got out to run away. However, he was struck by a civilian vehicle with very considerable force, causing him obvious brain and physical damage.

He was sent to intensive care immediately and there was a question mark over whether he would survive.

“He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in Beaumont for a number of months, before being transferred to a nursing home,” explained the detective, adding that his brain function was now limited and that he had lost the use of three of his limbs.

“Until recently, he was being peg fed. Now he’s being spoon fed, and is hoisted to and from his bed on a daily basis,” he continued.

“We are monitoring the progress but, at the minute, he’s not in a position to be charged,” he added.

“That’s relating to cognitive deficit,” noted Mr Ó Lideadha, asking about his limbs.

“He will never regain the use of his limbs,” replied the detective.

Under re-examination by Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, the witness confirmed that both men had been living with Ms Jaunmaize in Longford at the time.

He also confirmed that the alleged killer had carried out the racially-motivated offences when he was 15 and 16 years of age. They involved obvious malicious damage that exhibited prejudice against black people, Jews and the promotion of Hitler and similar ideas.

He also confirmed that his views about gay people and black people were "all fairly obvious" when he was in Kilnaleck.

The jury later heard from an engineer, who examined the deceased woman’s shower rail and towel rail to see if she could have used either to take her own life.

Neil Murphy ruled out the shower rail, after it was found incapable of taking her weight. He found that the towel rail, although much lower, was strong enough.

“However, the person’s body would have been found still attached to the rail,” he explained.

The jury was aware that this was not the case, having heard that she was found with one end of a blue rope around her neck and the other end unattached to anything. The accused eventually told the gardaí that the main suspect had choked her with an arm lock and ordered her to put the rope around her neck afterwards.

The jury also heard from the State Pathologist yesterday. Mr Gageby had already told the jury that Dr Michael Curtis had found the cause of death to be neck compression, and he asked him about the various scenarios that could have led to this.

He noted that his examination of the body revealed that the rope had been wound around her neck three times. He said the marks indicated that it had been pulled tightly around her neck at or around the time of death.

“The deceased may have died as a result of neck compression by an arm lock and the ligature put around the neck afterwards,” he said. “Or the deceased may have been rendered unconscious by the arm lock and appeared dead.”

He said he couldn't favour one conclusions over the other.

Dr Curtis also noted injury to her head, face and upper arms, along with the fact that she was grossly intoxicated by alcohol.

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

KEYWORDS:

courtcavan

Most Read in Ireland