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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
David Young

Jozef Puska found guilty of murder of schoolteacher Ashling Murphy

Jozef Puska has been found guilty of murdering Irish schoolteacher Ashling Murphy.

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

Puska, 33, of Lynally Grove in Mucklagh, Tullamore, had pleaded not guilty to her murder.

The jury, made up of nine men and three women, reached their unanimous verdict at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after beginning deliberations on Wednesday.

Members of the Murphy family cried as they hugged each other following the verdict.

Puska briefly placed his head in his hands before staring at the floor.

Judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt told the jury "we have evil in this room".

Justice Hunt said: "There will be a day of reckoning for Puska."

The judge said the case dealing with Ms Murphy's killing was particularly difficult given "the kind of person that she obviously was".

He said primary school teachers loved children and her GAA top showed her love of sport.

Justice Hunt told the court that to lose a child was "unnatural".

Dublin’s Criminal Courts of Justice (PA Archive)

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."

Justice Hunt thanked the jurors 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".

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".

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