Man charged with Ashling Murphy murder remanded in custody again

Jozef Puska (31) is accused of killing the 23-year-old school teacher in Tullamore

A man charged with the murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly, has been remanded in continuing custody for another two weeks pending formal directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Jozef Puska (31), of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was held in custody last week following a special sitting of Tullamore District Court.

He is accused of killing the 23-year-old primary school teacher who was attacked while out running along the Grand Canal near Tullamore on January 12th.

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

Mr Puska, who has been granted legal aid, appeared before Judge Victor Blake via video link.

He removed his facemask and spoke briefly to state his name and confirm he could see and hear the proceedings. He listened with the assistance of an interpreter.

Judge Blake noted the charge and asked if the DPP’s directions were available.

Garda Sergeant Olwyn Murphy said they were not and she asked for a four-week adjournment to prepare the file.

Defence solicitor Roy O’Neill said “there is consent to two weeks only at this stage”.

Judge Blake told Mr Puska he was further remanded in custody to appear again on February 9th “for formal DPP directions”. He also noted that an interpreter would be required on the next date.

Mr O’Neill told the court he would be consulting with his client after the hearing.

Due to the nature of the charge, the District Court cannot consider a bail application. This could only be heard by the High Court.

The DPP has yet to complete a book of evidence.

Det Sgt David Scahill gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution at his first hearing.

He had said that when asked if he had anything to say in response to the charge, the accused replied: “No.”

A second man arrested under Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939 was released without charge last week. Gardaí­ said a file would be prepared for the office of the DPP.