Ashling Murphy family reacts to verdict, calls Jozef Puska a “vicious predator”

‘We have evil in this room’ – Judge says there will be a ‘day of reckoning’ for Puska as he is found guilty of murder

Speaking on the steps of the criminal court where Jozef Puska had been found guilty of her murder less than two hours earlier, they said with emotion that Ashling was the epitome of a perfect role model for every little girl to look up to and emulate could strive for it.

Side by side, Ashling’s brother Cathal and his friend Ryan read a statement on behalf of the family.

Behind them, Ashling’s parents Kathleen and Ray and sister Amy stood huddled together.

Kathleen was holding a framed photo of Ashling. The same photo was displayed in Court 13 after Puska was found guilty. They showed the same photo to the jury after it reached its unanimous verdict.

Behind them was a larger circle of family and friends who supported them throughout the entire process.

Ashling Murphy

“At this moment and on behalf of the Murphy family, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to all of our family, friends and community for their unwavering support since our Ashling was stolen from us 22 months ago on January 12, 2022” said Ryan.

“From day one, the love and support of the Irish people, nationally and internationally, has been felt in abundance as they stood in solidarity with our family in both mourning the loss of our wonderfully talented Ashling and condemning the gender .”-based brutality with visceral repulsion.

“Ashling was a vibrant, intelligent and highly motivated young woman who embodied so many great characteristics and qualities of the Irish people and their communities. Her life had a huge impact on so many people around her, and she was the epitome of a perfect role model for every little girl to look up to and aspire to.”

“Not only was she an integral part of our family, but she was also a shining light in our community, a community in which she gave her best, the best she could, year after year,” he added.

He then thanked the gardaí who brought Puska to justice.

Ashling Murphy’s brother Cathal and his friend Ryan Casey with family outside the Criminal Court. Photo: Collins

“Our gratitude to all members of An Garda Síochána who conducted and compiled an informed and thorough investigation cannot be expressed in words. We would like to formally thank the prosecution’s legal team, Justice Hunt, as well as our family liaison officers, Sergeant Lucy McLoughlin and Detective Garda Alan Burke. We would also like to thank the core victim support team who have always been there for us and always waiting to help us at any time,” Ryan said.

Ashling’s brother Cathal then thanked the jury for their role.

“We would also like to thank the members of the jury for this verdict. Coming to terms with the harrowing evidence of this trial has been no easy task and we will be eternally grateful for their patience and resilience throughout this incredibly difficult process,” he said.

“Our Ashling was subjected to incomprehensible violence at the hands of an unknown predator. While we boast no convictions, we recognize the importance of holding accountable those who would commit such terrible atrocities.

Tribute to Ashling Murphy in Tullamore following her death. Photo: Gerry Mooney

“The trial cannot bring back our beloved Ashling, nor can it heal our wounds, but we are relieved that this verdict brings justice.” “It is simply imperative that this evil monster is never able to harm another woman again,” added he added, demanding that the Murphy family’s privacy be respected.

The Murphy family then walked back into the courthouse, where they comforted and hugged each other.

Jurors in Puska’s trial were previously told they had ensured that “literally no one got away with murder.”

Judge Tony Hunt made the comments to the jury shortly after they returned with a verdict that Puska, 33, was guilty of murdering the schoolteacher.

As the jury left the courtroom, there was loud applause from the Murphy family.

Puska in the dock at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Judge Hunt also told the jury he was glad they had “not wasted any more of your valuable time on Puska’s nonsense”.

Puska now faces a life sentence for murdering Ms Murphy at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly on January 12, 2022.

The jury of nine men and three women returned to Court No. 13 shortly after 2pm and the foreman told Judge Hunt that they had reached a verdict with which they all agreed.

They had deliberated for just over two hours.

Puska stood in the dock next to a Slovakian interpreter who translated for him.

The court clerk read out the verdict: Puska was guilty of murder.

Puska did not appear to react to the verdict.

Ashling’s parents, Ray and Kathleen, her brother Cathal and sister Amy, and her boyfriend Ryan sat in the public gallery and there was a stifled sigh of relief when they heard the verdict.

Judge Hunt said it was unnatural to lose a child. “We have evil in this room,” he said.

He said the case was difficult for the Murphy family because there was so much focus on it.

Judge Hunt also said this had been a difficult and disturbing case.

He had previously asked for silence in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

Judge Hunt said that “people, including those like this, have the right to defend themselves if they wish.”

He said this was not a reflection of the defense team having a really difficult job to do, which was thankless and unpopular.

He also told the court that there would be “a day of reckoning” for Puska.

The case was adjourned to November 17 to prepare victim impact statements.

During the four-week trial, the jury heard evidence that Puska stabbed Ms Murphy 11 times in the right side of the neck.

The stab wounds damaged her right and left carotid arteries as well as her larynx and right carotid artery, the autopsy showed, and it is unlikely she would have been able to speak or make intelligible sounds.

Ashling Murphy’s mother Kathleen and sister Amy outside the Criminal Court after Jozef Puska was found guilty. Photo: Collins

A fingerprint and DNA sample of Puska were taken from a bicycle found near Ashling’s body, the court heard.

Male DNA found under Ashling’s fingernails also matched two samples from Puska.

On January 14, 2022 – two days after her death – Puska admitted killing Ashling, the jury heard.

From his bed in St James’ Hospital in Dublin, Puska told investigators: “I did it. I murdered. I am the murderer.”

In his statement, Puska claimed he was knocked off his bike and stabbed three times in the stomach by a man wearing a face mask, who then attacked and killed Ms Murphy.

The Garda Commissioner has praised the investigative team which secured a conviction of Ms Murphy’s killer and responded to the killer’s “ridiculous” defence.

He also described it as a “terrible crime” and that gardaí would continue to support her family in the future.

Puska will be sentenced next week to a mandatory life sentence for the January 2022 murder of a school teacher in Tullamore, County Offaly.

After the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict, Commissioner Drew Harris praised the gardaí involved and said his thoughts were with Ashling and her family.

“There is always a range of reactions, the work of the investigation team is very professional and I must particularly commend the two detectives from Blancardstown who attended the hospital and conducted the interview as it involved an injured person in an alleged stabbing, but the “We were obviously suspicious and reported these suspicions,” he said.

“So that was a very important element and good work by those investigators,” Mr. Harris said.

“But I say, essentially, our thoughts are with Ashling’s family and Ashling herself, may she rest in peace, but also with her family and the support she needs now in the months and years to come.”

“We hope they feel that justice has been served, and from now on we are here to support them as they move forward.”

“Overall there are always mixed feelings because in the end it was a terrible crime.”

“A conviction was obtained following a very thorough investigation which responded to a sometimes ridiculous defense he had put forward, which is testament to the quality of the investigation.”

He was speaking at the opening of a new Lake Garda immigration center in the Dublin port area this afternoon.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee also attended the event and said Ms Murphy’s family’s lives had changed forever.

“Today is a really important day and my thoughts are with Ashling’s family, Ray, Kathleen, Cathal, Amy, Ryan and the entire family,” she said.

“Ashling’s murder shocked us all, it moved us to action and demand an end to violence against women, and I think today’s result makes us even more determined, not just for Ashling, but for all women who were murdered .” the years.

“But today is about Ashling and her family. Their lives have changed forever and my thoughts are with them.”

Minister McEntee expressed her gratitude to Garda Síochána, the emergency services who responded to the scene and all staff in the criminal justice system who persistently pursued this extremely difficult case.

“But today we are thinking of Ashling’s family and the communities of Mountbolus, Blueball, Tullamore and her school community in Durrow. Your life has changed forever. Ashling should still be by her side, but I know the warmth of her spirit will never leave her. May she rest in peace,” she added.


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