Sheffield murder accused ‘tried to save friend’

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A MAN accused of strangling his friend after she rejected his marriage proposal told jurors he found her body slumped in her car outside his Sheffield home.

Martin Vernarsky, of Claywood Road, Norfolk Park, Sheffield, is accused of murdering 34-year-old Ildiko Dohany out of jealousy after becoming obsessed about her relationship with another man.

But when the 25-year-old appeared in the dock at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday he claimed the pair had agreed to travel abroad together and that on the day she died, Miss Dohany, from Hungary, had been due to drive to his flat to pick him up, but had been unable to find her keys so he walked to her house.

He claimed that when he arrived on Kenninghall View, Arbourthorne, Miss Dohany’s car had gone so he turned around to walk back to his own flat believing she would be there waiting for him.

Wiping away tears as he spoke, Vernarsky claimed he found his friend sitting in her car and when he reached out to touch her to check that she was OK she fell onto him.

Vernarsky, a Czech national, who worked with Miss Dohany at a logistics firm in Attercliffe, told jurors he tried to revive his friend.

Vernarsky, who denies murder, said: “The first thing I said was ‘what’s wrong’.

“She did not move, she did not answer.

“When I went in I touched her on the shoulder and she fell on me. She just slid onto me.

“When I touched her face she was quite cold.

“I tried to make her body straight, I touched her face, I tried to check if she had hurt herself.

“She was not moving or breathing.

“I tried CPR. The first time I did it I was not able to keep her body straight, I tried to take her out of the car.”

Alistair MacDonald QC, for Vernarsky, asked him why there were no 999 calls recorded on the call log of his mobile phone.

He insisted he had dialled the number ‘a couple of times’ while the phone was on the floor at his side while he was trying to revive her.

He told the court: “I thought I needed somebody who would help me, but at the same time I did not want to stop.”

The trial continues.