Jozef Puska went on trial for the killing of Ashling Murphy
ashling murphy

Jozef Puska found guilty of murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly

The 23-year-old was killed while exercising on a canal path in Tullamore on the afternoon of January 12 2022.

JOZEF PUSKA HAS been found guilty of the murder of schoolteacher Ashling Murphy in Co Offaly last year.

Ms Murphy, 23, was killed while exercising on a canal path in Tullamore on the afternoon of January 12 2022.

Puska, 33, 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.

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 case.

He said he agreed with the verdict and was satisfied it was correct.

However, he said there was no doubt the case was “difficult and upsetting”.

During the trial, the court heard that Ms Murphy had been stabbed eleven times and her neck had been slashed in a twelfth wound.

The court heard that while Puska was in hospital in the days after the murder, he told investigating gardai that he had killed Ms Murphy.

The convicted murderer later said he did not recall making the statement and told gardaí he did not “know anything” about the murder while being interviewed after his arrest.

Puska, who admitted lying to gardaí on multiple occasions, had told the court that he had tried to help Ms Murphy after they were both attacked by a masked man.

It was prosecuting barrister Anne-Marie Lawlor’s case that there was no other man involved in the killing.

The court heard how a profile of DNA taken from underneath the fingernails of Ms Murphy had matched that of a sample taken from Puska.

Justice Hunt told the jury that everyone was entitled to put forward a defence.

“You can’t make bricks without straw and what [defence barrister Michael] Bowman had in his hands was very poor stuff indeed.”

The jurors were applauded as they exited the chamber as Ms Murphy’s mother held up a framed photograph of her daughter.

The judge said he had asked for silence but said the applause was “understandable”.

Sentencing and the reading of any victim impact statement was scheduled for 17 November.

With reporting by PA