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Two truck drivers found not guilty of murdering man at petrol station in Cork

Ludovit Pasztor died following the incident in Fermoy in February 2017.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

TWO TRUCK DRIVERS have been cleared of the murder of a Hungarian father of two who was struck with an iron bar during a row at a petrol station in Fermoy, Co Cork in February 2017.

Marcin Skrzypezyk (31) and Tomasz Wasowicz (45) were found not guilty of the murder of Ludovit Pasztor on 21 February 2017, at the Amber Petrol Station, Carrignagroghera, Fermoy.

The men, who are Polish nationals, went on trial at the Central Court Criminal sitting in Cork on 29 April last.

The court heard that a dispute had broken out between the two accused, Mr Pasztor and his friend Mariusz Osail on the evening of the 21 February, 2017.

The jury of eight men and four woman was told that Ludovit Pasztor had gone to his friend Mariusz Osail’s house in Fermoy that evening where they drank a lot of alcohol.

Between 9.30pm and 9.45pm they went to the Amber Petrol Station in Fermoy and purchased eight cans of Carlsberg.

The two accused were working for a haulage company at the time. They were complying with tachograph rules which allow individuals to log a certain number of hours driving before requiring them to have a rest period.

The two men got out of their trucks to go to the toilet. Pasztor and Osail were passing and heard the pair conversing in Polish so they went over to speak to them. The conversation became acrimonious.

Siobhan Lankford, SC, prosecuting said that Pasztor and his friend went back to the house and got two bars from a dismantled trampoline.

Lankford said Pasztor and Osail returned to the petrol station and there was a physical altercation between the four men.

Mr Pasztor and Mr Osail were disarmed of their iron bars. Mr Pasztor got hit in the altercation and subsequently died.

Tom Creed, SC for Marcin Skrzypezyk, said in his closing address to the jury, that the two truckers were minding their own business when Pasztor and his friend arrived back to the station armed with iron bars.

“Two people come to two others sitting in their truck minding their own business having a chat almost like they were sitting at home having a chat,” he said. “People come banging on the door with iron bars and call them out. An attack happened and in the ensuing melee one of the assailants got struck and died.

You are entitled to protect yourself and you are entitled to protect someone else. In here we call it self-defence. They (two men armed with iron bars) tore into Tomasz like animals. He (Skrzypezyk) picked up a bar from one attacker or on the ground and struck a couple of blows, he thought, on the shoulder.

“That leaves open the possibility that he was using reasonable force to protect his friend. The prosecution have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was not using reasonable force — if you are not so satisfied you must acquit.”

Pasztor moved to Ireland in 2010. He was employed in Kepak Meats in Watergrasshill and later in Silver Pail Dairy in Fermoy.

Skrzypezyk, who previously lived in Macroom in Co Cork, and Wasowicz, who previously resided in Portarlington in Co Laois, returned from Poland to answer the charges.

The case, which was presided over by Justice Carmel Stewart, lasted for over two weeks. The jury cleared both men of murder and manslaughter after two hours and seventeen minutes of deliberations.

Justice Stewart thanked the jury for their diligence particularly given that the trial involved interpreters. The jurors were excused of jury service for ten years.

The two men hugged friends and family when the not guilty verdict was returned. They are expected to return back to Poland.

Pasztor’s wife and daughter were consoled in the courtroom by a friend when the verdict was delivered.

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Olivia Kelleher

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