Ashling Murphy trial: Family ‘relieved’ at Jozef Puska murder conviction as they grieve her loss

Brother of late teacher says she was subjected to ‘incomprehensible violence by a predator who was not known to her’

The brother of Ashling Murphy has described her killer as a “predator” and a “vicious monster” who deserves to be behind bars.

Jozef Puska, (33), a Slovakian national with an address at Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was on Thursday convicted of the murder of Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old schoolteacher. The Offaly woman was stabbed to death while she was exercising on the Grand Canal near Tullamore, Co Offaly on January 12th, 2022. Mr Puska had denied the murder charge.

Cathal Murphy said the judicial process could not bring back Ashling, but her family was relieved that Puska was found guilty of murder, adding: “It is simply imperative that this vicious monster can never harm another woman again.”

Mr Murphy and Ashling’s partner Ryan Casey spoke to awaiting media outside Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) following the verdict. Puska will be sentenced for the murder on November 17th.


Mr Murphy thanked the jury for sitting through the often harrowing evidence during the case. The Murphy family would be forever grateful for their patience and resilience, he said.

“Ashling was subjected to incomprehensible violence by a predator who was not known to her. While we do not glory in any conviction, we recognise the importance of holding to account those who commit such terrible atrocities. We are relieved that this murderer will face justice,” he said.

Mr Murphy asked for the family’s privacy to be respected as “we grieve the loss of our beloved Ashling”.

Mr Casey expressed “deep gratitude” to family, friends and community for their support following Ms Murphy’s murder. People “at national and international level” had stood with the family in solidarity.

“Ashling was a vibrant, intelligent young woman who embodied so many great traits. She was the epitome of a role model for every young girl to look up to.

“She was not only an integral part of our family, but she was a huge shining light in our community. Year in, year out, she gave back as best she could. Words cannot express our gratitude to all members of An Garda Síochána who conducted a most thorough investigation.

“We would like to thank our prosecution legal team, Justice [Tony] Hunt and also the family liaison officer Sergeant Lucy McLoughlin and Garda Alan Burke.”

Ashling’s parents Raymond and Kathleen and sister Amy were present when the statement was read out.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said in a statement: “My thoughts today are with Ray, Kathleen, Cathal, Amy, Ryan and all of Ashling’s family and friends. None of us can comprehend the grief and loss they carry every day. Their beautiful daughter, sister and friend, a young woman with so much to offer the world, was taken from them.

“Ashling’s murder shocked us all. It moved us to action, demanding an end to violence against women. Our determination to achieve that grows stronger every day. For Ashling, and in painful memory of so many other women who have been killed and those who suffer still.”

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, speaking at the opening of the new Garda Síochána Immigration Office at Dublin Port, said a “very professional job” had been done by the investigation team.

“In particular, I have to commend the two detectives from Blanchardstown who visited the hospital and interviewed the injured party … that was a very important element,” he said.

He said he hoped Ms Murphy’s family “feel that justice has been done, and from now on we’re here to support them as they go forward”.

Women’s Aid welcomed the conviction, saying: “The murder of Ashling Murphy was a shocking example of dangers posed to women and the case put a spotlight on the inherent risk of male violence in society. Every woman should have the right to be safe, both in their own homes and in their communities.

“Women’s Aid hope that the deep social resonance this violent crime, and the violence that has stolen the lives of 262 other women since 1996 will not be squandered.

“This should spur us on, in all aspects of Irish society, to do the work required to achieve equality and safety for all. to make Ireland a country that truly has zero tolerance for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence – now and for our future generations.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast