Mother of murder victim when told her son's killer had been found guilty: ‘A stone has been lifted off my heart’

In March 2013, Herda drove a car she and Orsos were in into the harbour, knowing he could not swim. She also tried to destroy his name by claiming that he raped her. Picture: Niall Carson

A top detective has revealed that when the mother of Csaba Orsos heard that her son’s killer had been found guilty, she said: “A stone has been lifted from my heart”.

Detective Sergeant Fergus O’Brien said that not only had Marta Herda taken the life of Csaba but she also tried to destroy his name by claiming he had raped her.

Herda was convicted in July 2016 of murdering the 31-year-old Hungarian man in March 2013 when she drove a car they were in into Arklow harbour, knowing he could not swim.

Det Sgt O’Brien, who retires in two weeks, received an excellence award for his involvement in 25 murder investigations, including the Catherine Nevin case, throughout his 39 years in the force.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), the Wicklow-based officer said Csaba went the worst way he could.

“Csaba got the death he feared most,” he said. “He had an aversion to water. He was allergic to water, he had problems with his ears, and he couldn’t swim.

“He died by drowning. But Marta Herda drove her car that night, straight through two metal barriers, plunging it into the icy waters of the Avoca river at six in the morning.”

Csaba Orsos ‘got the death he feared most. He had an aversion to water. He was allergic to water, he couldn’t swim.’

However, this was not all, he said.

She took a look at Csaba and she alighted from the open window of her car, swam to a nearby ladder on a nearby wall and ran along the quay wall, shouting: ‘Rape! I have been raped!

“So not only did she take Csaba’s life by assassinating him in the manner that she did, she now was assassinating his memory for his mother.”

He said that later in the morning Csaba’s body was washed up on a nearby beach and brought quayside for identification by his brother Zoltan.

“The undertaker was trying to be kind to him,” he said. “He said: ‘You know Zoltan, we can cremate your brother’s remains, it will make it easier for you to go back to Hungary with your young family’.”

Det Sgt O’Brien said: “Zoltan would return to Hungary with his young family and his two sons and he would never return. But he turned to the undertaker and he said: ‘My mother will want to see the body of her son’.

He said a number of months later he asked Zoltan what did his mother say.

Detective Sergeant Fergus O'Brien

“She said that she would rather that her son had died in a traffic accident.

“When she heard that the police in Ireland were investigating her son’s death as a murder she said: ‘Who would hate my son so much that they would want to murder him?’.” He said that after a “lengthy and difficult trial” he was driving Zoltan back to the airport and asked him what his mother said after the conviction of Herda.

“She said: ‘A stone has been lifted off my heart’.” Paraphrasing the Greek poet Aeschylus, Det Sgt O’Brien said: “Even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls hard on the heart.”

Marta Herda was found guilty in July 2016 of the murder of Hungarian Csaba Orsos. Picture: Courtpix

Accepting the AGSI Excellence Award, he said: “I was glad that not only did we investigate that case but we redeemed Csaba Orsos’ good name for his mother’s memory.

“I never met his mother. I’m glad we could lift some of the pain that dropped on her heart and I’m glad we could lift the stone off her heart.

“To me, that is the meaning of being a police officer and that’s what makes the job worth doing.”

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