Irish teacher’s murderer ‘should never see the light of day again’, says grieving mother

World

The murderer of Irish teacher Ashling Murphy “should never see the light of day again”, her mother has said as he was sentenced to life.

Jozef Puska, 33, of Mucklagh, Tullamore, was found guilty last week following a trial, where the jury was told by the judge “we have evil in this room”.

At Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on Friday, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said there was only one sentence available, and that it was “richly deserved”.

Ashling Murphy died after being attacked while running along the canal bank at Cappincur
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Ms Murphy contributed to society in the best way possible, says her partner

He said Puska’s evidence had been “indescribable” and the “one thing we don’t know about this case is the why”.

There is a mandatory life sentence for murder In Ireland, where an application for parole can be made after 12 years.

Ms Murphy, 23, was killed while she was out exercising along a canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, in January last year.

She was wearing a Fitbit which showed her exercise started at 2.51pm. But 30 minutes later it tracked “erratic, violent movements”. At 3.31pm, the Fitbit was no longer recording any heartbeat.

Ms Murphy’s mother said her “heart was ripped” from her body the moment she learned her daughter had been killed.

In a victim impact statement read out in court by a detective garda, Mrs Murphy said her “heart broke the moment I heard the bad news Ashling was murdered”.

“There is such a void in our home,” she said.

She said the actions of Puska “must have consequences” and that “he should never see the light of day again”.

She said that before her daughter left the house, she had begged her not to go along the canal, to which Ms Murphy replied “Ah mum, I’m 23 years old” before giving her mother a hug.

She gave her “a big hug and said ‘I love you, you’re the best mum in the world’ and walked out the door”, the court heard.

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Ashling’s murderer was ‘vicious monster’

Ms Murphy’s partner said their relationship was “full with love, trust respect” and “was quite simply heaven on earth”.

Describing how they had first met as teenagers, Ryan Casey said they had plans to travel together, to build a house, start a family, and get married.

He said it did not make sense to him that someone who is “a burden to society can completely and permanently destroy someone… who is the complete opposite”, describing Ms Murphy as “a light with dreams, compassion, respect, a person who contributes to society in the best way possible”.

Read more:
Ashling Murphy and Ireland’s femicide epidemic

Mr Murphy’s death drew outrage across Ireland and the UK, prompting calls for more to be done about femicide.

Speaking outside the court, Chief Superintendent Tony Lonergan said: “This monstrous crime shocked the nation.

Chief superintendent Tony Lonergan said it was 'a monstrous crime'
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Chief superintendent Tony Lonergan said it was ‘a monstrous crime’

“I want to pay tribute to all the members of An Garda Siochana involved in this investigation, and in particular my colleagues at Tullamore garda station where the investigation was based.

“The investigation team were professional and steadfast in their determination that the person responsible for Ashling’s murder would be brought to justice.

“I also want to thank the community of Tullamore, a compassionate, kind, resilient and generous community. They were of invaluable assistance to An Garda Siochana throughout this investigation, providing us in particular with access to CCTV which was instrumental in building the case against Mr Puska, and to achieving a successful prosecution.

“The community also has and continues to support Ashling’s family.

“Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Ashling’s family… the courage, the dignity, the resilience and the strength that they are showing during this ordeal has been exemplary.

“I want to assure them on behalf of An Garda Siochana that we will continue to support them going forward and give them all the support we can where necessary.”

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