Defence claims Laszlo Gyarmati strangled lover to death in a 'terrible accident'

Times Series: Alexandra Kovacs. Picture credit: Bors Alexandra Kovacs. Picture credit: Bors

A 29-year-old man was “panicked and shocked” after killing his lover in a “terrible accident”, a court heard today.

Laszlo Gyarmati has admitted manslaughter but denies murdering Alexandra Kovacs at her home in Lee Road, Mill Hill, last July.

In his closing speech, defence barrister Joel Bennathan QC, told Central Criminal Court how Mr Gyarmati had done his “very best” to tell the jury the truth about what happened the night he killed the 25-year-old on her bed.

Mr Gyarmati, of Station Road, Finchley, had previously explained to the jury how he had sex with Miss Kovacs in her bedroom before they had an argument about a plan to arrange sham marriages.

Mr Gyarmati, who said he had smoked cannabis and snorted MDMA, claimed he became irritated with Miss Kovacs and put one hand over her mouth.

He said that when he let go she screamed for help, so he placed his hand on her throat in an attempt to silence her.

Mr Gyarmati then described hearing a door in the house Miss Kovacs shared with several Hungarian nationals, and he put a pillow over her face so that she would “be silent”.

Mr Bennathan claimed this incident lasted for between 10 and 20 seconds, which a pathologist previously agreed could not be ruled out.

The defence barrister went on to remind the jury that three of Miss Kovacs’s housemates were woken up by a scream or a shout. One described hearing a “dull knock” following a cry for help and all agreed they did not hear any other disturbance that night.

Meanwhile another housemate on a different floor to Miss Kovacs did not hear anything.

Mr Bennathan said: “All four witnesses provide compelling evidence to say this was shockingly quick, like the defendant said.”

He went on to say the prosecution’s argument that a fight for two to four minutes was “inconceivable” because the defendant had no bruises, scratches or marks on his skin and Miss Kovacs had “incredibly few injuries”.

He said it was an act of violence that flew “out of control” and was “so quick and so limited, that in some way, it is a terrible accident”.

Once Mr Gyarmati realised Miss Kovacs was not breathing he did not call for help and the following day he dumped her naked body in a suitcase in Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

Mr Bennathan said Mr Gyarmati’s behaviour after the killing was irrational because he was “panicked” and “shocked” by what had happened.

He said: “There’s absolutely no useful purpose of moving the body from the flat. It was a nonsensical, panicked reaction."

He added that while the defence does not suggest the entire incident was a result of Mr Gyarmati’s drug-taking, it does suggest that his “lack of judgement” was owing to him having taken “mood altering drugs”.

The trial continues.

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