Man accused of Ashling Murphy murder remanded for formal DPP directions

Jozef Puska (31) faced fourth District Court hearing on Wednesday

A man charged with the murder of teacher Ashling Murphy has been further remanded in custody pending formal directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Jozef Puska (31), with an address at Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, is accused of killing the 23-year-old primary school teacher while she was out running along the Grand Canal near Tullamore on January 12.

The Slovakian national faced his fourth hearing at Cloverhill District Court on Wednesday.

He appeared via video link before Judge Cephas Power, having initially been remanded in custody on January 19. Dressed in a grey tracksuit, he listened with the help of an interpreter and spoke only to give his name and to say he could see and hear the proceedings.

Court Garda sergeant Olwyn Murphy told Judge Power, “directions are still outstanding”.

She explained gardaí sent the investigation file to the State solicitor and the DPP in Dublin on February 18. A four-week remand was sought.

Defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght submitted the case “is only going one way”. He asked the judge to refuse jurisdiction at this stage and adjourn the case for a book of evidence to be completed.

The court sergeant pointed out there was no time limit, and asked the judge to adjourn for formal directions from the DPP first and a book of evidence after that.

Judge Power noted the nature of the charge and indicated he would put the case back for four weeks.

However, Mr Lysaght said his client would only consent to a two-week remand. He also asked for the directions to be expedited, adding that the DPP has been involved “from day one”.

The sergeant said the DPP gave “ordinary directions” on day one, and now formal directions were required.

The judge noted the volume and complexity of the case and remanded the defendant in continuing custody to appear again on March 9.