Family of murdered Irish school teacher Ashling Murphy say 'vicious monster' Jozef Puska should never be free again

9 November 2023, 14:26 | Updated: 9 November 2023, 17:40

Ashling Murphy was killed while on a run in January 2022.
Ashling Murphy was killed while on a run in January 2022. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A 33-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering Irish school teacher Ashling Murphy in January last year.

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Jozef Puska was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin of murdering Ms Murphy, 23, as she went for a run by a canal in Tullamore on January 12, 2022.

Puska, of Lynally Grove in Mucklagh, Tullamore, had pleaded not guilty to her murder.

The jury of nine men and three women reached their unanimous verdict after beginning deliberations on Wednesday.

Read more: Man appears in court charged with murder of primary school teacher Ashling Murphy

Read more: Ashling Murphy: Partner's tribute to 'shining light' as police make arrest in murder probe

Speaking outside of the court, Ms Murphy's brother Cathal: "We would like to thank the members of the jury for reaching this verdict. 

"Sitting through the harrowing evidence of this trial was not an easy task and we'll be forever grateful for their patience and resilience throughout this incredibly difficult process.

"Ashling was subjected to incomprehensible violence by a predator who was not known to her. While we do not glory in any conviction, we recognise the importance of holding accountable those who would commit such terrible atrocities.

"The judicial process cannot bring our darling Ashling back, nor can it heal our wounds, but we are relieved that this verdict delivers justice.'It is simply imperative that this vicious monster can never harm another woman again."

Jozef Puska
Jozef Puska. Picture: Alamy

Judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked the jury for their service and exempted them from further duty for 20 years.

He said the prompt verdict reflected that it was a straightforward but said there was no doubt the case was "difficult and upsetting".

He told the jury "we have evil in this room" and that "there will be a day of reckoning for Puska".

Speaking of the Murphy family, he said: "Their position is unenviable. How their child was taken away, to consider what happened here is enough to make you physically ill."

Huge crowds line the street for Ashling Muphy's funeral

Women's Aid welcomed the the conviction of Puska, saying in a statement: "When Puska senselessly took Ashling Murphy's life at 4.30pm in broad daylight while she was out on a run, it sent a shockwave through communities in Ireland.

"That this could happen tapped into a visceral feeling that so many girls and women are socialised to feel - that the risk of male violence is everywhere. That nowhere is safe.

"The murder of Ashling Murphy was a shocking example of dangers posed to women and the case put a spotlight on the inherent risk of male violence in society.

"Every woman should have the right to be safe, both in their own homes and in their communities.

"One man goes to jail today but this will not bring Ashling back or compensate for her heart-rending loss. Effective criminal justice sanctions are vital and we truly hope this offers some measure of justice and closure to Ashling's family and friends."