Jozef Puska: Man accused of murdering Ashling Murphy in Tullamore told gardai he was ‘attacked by two men’

Mr Puska said he was going to Blanchardstown to meet a woman, Sgt McDonnell said.

Jozef Puska’s hands and forehead had a “characteristic, red, rough complexion”, Sergeant Paul McDonnell told the Central Criminal Court, and a photograph of Mr Puska’s left hand was given to the jury.

Mr Puska (33) of Lynally Grove in Tullamore has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ashling Murphy in Cappincur, Tullamore on January 12, 2022.

In his statement on Tuesday afternoon, Sgt McDonnell said he went to St James’ Hospital on January 13, 2022, after gardai learned that a man had said he had been the victim of a stabbing.

The court heard there had been a double knife attack near Blanchardstown Shopping Center on January 12 and detectives were investigating in Blanchardstown.

Sgt McDonnell said he was directed to Mr Puska’s bedside. He was asleep and had a series of monitors attached to him.

Mr Puska was wearing a large bandage over part of his stomach and Sgt McDonnell said he could see clear marks on Mr Puska’s forehead and hands.

A person places flowers near the crime scene in Tullamore, Co. Offaly (PA).

Sgt McDonnel said he spoke to Mr Puska on the phone through an interpreter and told him that gardai had information that he had been stabbed. Sgt McDonnell said he reassured Mr Puska that gardai were there to help him.

Sergeant McDonnell said Mr Puska was in “good spirits” when he spoke to him.

He said Mr Puska told him he arrived at Heuston station from Tullamore and took a taxi to Blanchardstown. Mr Puska said he was going to Blanchardstown to meet a woman, Sgt McDonnell said.

Mr Puska told gardai he showed the taxi driver the woman’s address on his mobile phone and paid cash that day.

Sgt McDonnell said Mr Puska told him he was “immediately attacked and assaulted by two men” and that this happened at around 5.30pm on January 12.

One had dark skin, wore a tracksuit and had a Dublin accent. Mr Puska told gardai. Sgt McDonnell said Mr Puska could not identify the second man because it had happened so suddenly.

Sgt McDonnell said he asked Mr Puska how his injuries occurred and he told him he believed the injuries were caused by him falling or being pulled to the ground.

Sergeant McDonnell said he indicated to Mr Puska that he was going to take a photo with his mobile phone and Mr Puska gave him a “thumbs up”.

Sgt McDonnell said he returned to Blanchardstown Garda station where he discussed the matter with his commanding officer and made train contact with gardai at Tullamore.

Sgt McDonnell returned to St James’ Hospital later on the night of January 13th. He spoke to the doctor in charge, who told him that Mr. Puska would be operated on.

Sgt McDonnell said he had been told the hospital was not allowed to provide medical information about Mr Puska, nor was it allowed to provide CCTV without a court order.

Sgt McDonnell was cross-examined by Michael Bowman SC and admitted he had gone to the hospital to investigate a possible assault in which Mr Puska was the victim.

Earlier, Detective Garda Ciaran Byrne told the court how gardai had analyzed data from Ashling Murphy’s Fitbit watch.

Gda Byrne showed the jury a series of graphics, one of which showed the direction she was traveling.

The court heard she walked east along the canal for more than two kilometers before turning around and heading west at 3.16pm.

At 3:21 p.m., the Fitbit watch’s movement stops smoothly, Gda Byrne said.

He described the clock as moving erratically and agreed with Judge Tony Hunt who said it “fluctuated greatly”.

Another graph recorded Ms. Murphy’s heart rate. Gda Byrne said the reading rose steadily until 3:21 p.m., suggesting someone was exercising. It then went back quickly until 3:27 p.m. There was a slight increase from 3:27 p.m. to 3:31 p.m.

After this time, the Fitbit no longer measured heart rate, Gda Byrne told the court.

On Tuesday morning the jury heard Rostislav Pokuta who said Mr Puska called his home the night Ashling Murphy died and said he had “been in a fight in town”.

Bus driver Rostislaw Pokuta said Mr Puska appeared “very scared”, was wet and “looked like a different person”.

Mr Pokuta said he was originally from Slovakia but had lived in Tullamore with his wife and children for a number of years.

He agreed with prosecutor Anne-Marie Lawlor SC that he was a friend of the Puska family and knew Jozef and his brothers.

Mr Pokuta said he was eating his dinner at around 9pm on January 12, 2022 when his son told him that Mr Puska was at the front door and.

Mr Pokuta said he went out and spoke to Mr Puska, who asked him if there was a chance he would take him home.

Mr Pokuta said Mr Puska told him “he had been in a fight or something in town”.

The witness said that Mr. Puska didn’t really want to talk too much.

Mr Puska asked for a bottle of water and drank it, the court heard.

Mr Pokuta was asked by Ms Lawlor about Mr Puska’s appearance. He said Mr Puska seemed “very scared”, he was “not like himself”, he was wet and his face appeared scratched.

Mr Pokuta also said Mr Puska was “not his skin color” and looked “like a different person”.

Mr Pokuta said he asked Mr Puska several times what happened to him and Mr Puska told him he had been involved in a fight.

He asked Mr Puska why he had not contacted the gardai and there was no response, he said.

Mr Pokuta said he took Mr Puska to his house. Mr Puiska told him to slow down in case someone was outside the house, the jury heard.

Mr Pokutaa said he asked Mr Puska why he was worried if he had done nothing wrong.

He was told to “leave it,” he said.

Under cross-examination by Michael Bowman SC, Mr Pokuta admitted he had not initially been telling the truth as he told gardai he had not seen any of the Puska brothers after January 11.

He later revealed that Jozef Puska called his house at around 9 p.m. on January 12th.

Mr Pokuta told Mr Bowman he feared for his family and accepted the atmosphere in Tullamore at the time was ugly.

“More than that,” Mr. Pokuta said, adding that there were a lot of comments on social media and he was worried about his job.

The process continues.


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